2.3 Lb. Plate Lunch at Richie's Drive Inn

Think USPS will mail this for me? lol

Those of you “Kalihiians” know Richie’s Drive Inn, where we’re back again for the supah’ ono, budget-crunchin’, scale-bustin’ plate lunch grinds!

As what McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Jack in the Box has done for the all-American burgers and fries, Richie’s Drive Inn does for the local Hawaii plate lunch: QUICK, CHEAP and GOOD.  And in some instances, GREAT! So quick in fact that, just like the aforementioned national chains, Richie’s Drive Inn also offers drive-thru plate lunch service!

Here’s a look at Kalihi’s own Richie’s Drive Inn menu board on this updated February 2010 visit…

No question, Richie’s version of the “ultimate combo” is ‘Richie’s Special Chili Dog Plate with Small Drink’…

Which, here’s how it looks…

Richie’s Special Chili Dog Plate with Small Drink. $5.29

Yeah, that looks really sloppy, but you know you know you want a bite. Admit it! lol

Moving on to the next order on this visit, Diner C decided on trying Richie’s Drive Inn’s Saba plate…

Saba Plate. $6.50

While Diner A continued the craving for fish, this time going for Richie’s Mahimahi plate…

Mahimahi Plate. $6.50

As always, last but MOST definitely not least in this case, we have my order, which was Richie’s Beef Stew and Lau Lau Combo plate…

Beef Stew with Lau Lau. $7.20

Get a load of that massive carrot in the beef stew. It’s almost as big as my forearm!

This plate had soooooo much HEFT to it upon carry it, that we just had to put in on the scale and weigh it…

Looking at the digital readout, it tips the scale at a hefty 2 lbs. 5.0 oz.. 2.3 POUNDS! That’s CRAZY! We like to describe plate lunches that pack heft like this as “Poundage“. Needless to say, I certainly wasn’t able to “polish” (clean) this plate in one sitting.  A “second wind’er” for sure.

What’s a little different about Richie’s Beef Stew is that instead of smaller bite-size pieces of beef, potatoes and carrots, this serving had just 1 massive half of a whole potato, about 3/4 of a whole carrot, and one giant piece of beef about half the size of my fist….

Taste wise, it’s also a little different, tasting like there’s at least a little chili powder and/or ceyenne pepper in it, as it had a hint of spiciness. It was also kinda’ salty. Not to the point of being inedible, but certainly noticeable. It did have a very hearty, beefy base flavor, so points on that. Also, because of their large size, the big, tender chunk of beef, potato and carrot still had integrity and weren’t mush, so points on that as well.

It’s a pretty good beef stew. Not the best I’ve ever had, but satisfying never-the-less. 2 SPAM Musubi for that.

Now let’s check out the Lau Lau…

Cut in half…

Lots of pork belly fat in there. A small piece of butterfish (that small piece hanging off to the left on the right side half). Decent amount of layered luau (taro) leaves. Very tender and moist all around. ALTHOUGH, this Lau Lau was very BLAND, which I’m guessing is because this may have been in the freezer for a long time, robbing it of all its natural flavors. Especially after just recently tasting the SUPERIOR Laulau at Highway Inn, this one really pales in comparison. 1 SPAM Musubi, getting a one for good portion and moist ‘n tender doneness. Glad I tried it, but next time I’ll stick with their most excellent Chili Dog Plate.

Now Richie’s Mac’ Salad…

Now THAT’S what you call MAC’ SALAD! Right off the bat, 5 SPAM Musubi. Easy.

Cool, creamy, simple, seasoned just right, with perfectly al dente macaroni noodles. Winnahz! So winnahz, next time I hit Richie’s, I’m gonna’ request a “Mac Salad Plate”: essentially a giant heap of mac salad as the “main entree” with 2 scoops rice and for the salad? What else? 1 scoop Mac’ Sal’! lol

As for Richie’s Chili Dog Plate, that’s another winnah’ and definitely my favorite dish from the joint…

It’s also one of the best plate lunch deals in town. For just $5.29 you get a huge serving of their onolicious “Better than Zippy’s” Chili (yes, I said that), not one but TWO hot dogs (Bar S brand we think), 1 scoop of their AWESOME Mac’ Sal, 2 scoops rice, AND a small drink!

Moving along, here you can see how moist and tender Diner A’s Mahimahi was…

And ditto for Diner C’s Saba…

Summing it up, I give my 2-plus pound Beef Stew and Lau Lau “Poundage” Combo 2 SPAM Musubi, while Diner A, C and E gave their respective plates 3 SPAM Musubi.

Diner E enjoyed Richie’s Chili Dog Plate so much, he polished it…

Richie’s Drive Inn
1178 N. King Street
Tel. 842-4004

(located across the post office, near Waikamilo home road and Farrington High School)

Related links:
• Richie’s Drive Inn – ‘Ono Kine Grindz review

The Tasty Island rating:

Related links:
Drive-Thru Plate Lunches at Richie’s Drive Inn – The Tasty Island
Richie’s Drive Inn – Yelp user reviews

P.S. Regarding the statewide Hawaii Tsunami warning, I can see the Ala Wai Canal from my place, and in the past half hour (between 12-12:30pm), the tide has drastically gone up, and now is way down, with a significant current drawing the water outward towards the ocean as the water recedes.


13 thoughts on “2.3 Lb. Plate Lunch at Richie's Drive Inn

  1. Raph, mahalo. The State Civil Defense and Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has just announced (@1:40pm) an ALL CLEAR on the Tsunami Threat. Whew. Yet again we’ve dodged the bullet. *Knocks on wood*
    Kat, the Chili Dog Plate is my favorite at Richie’s. I just didn’t get it because Diner E got dibs on it on this visit. Next time I got dibs.

  2. If you like the drive-thru at Richie’s, you gotta try the one at Zippy’s in Ewa Beach. The only difference is the drive-thru at Zippy’s is for pick-ups only, which means you gotta phone it in or maybe you can drive-thru twice!

  3. Ricky, cliché as this sounds, better safe than sorry.  Like the ’06 Big Island earthquake, I’m glad it didn’t happen during the work/school week, which would have been much more challenging for everyone, logistically speaking.
    DINERA, than this would confirm that Richie’s is really the only true fast-food drive-thru plate lunch joint in town, no phone-ins necessary. Except the trade-off is that most items are probably prefab at Richie’s (like a lunch wagon), and not made-to-order. That’s why I’d stick with the chili dog plate. Can’t go wrong on that one.
    Folks on Yelp say Richie’s boneless chicken is one of their most popular plates. Gonna’ have to try that some time.

  4. pomai–i did see the good news with hawaii being safe 🙂 glad things are more or less normal 🙂 got a chance to re-read the entire thread and hmmm maybe it’s time to whip up a batch of chili and toss in some hotdogs. awesome write up & pisc as always !

  5. I love Richie’s! They have such great food and have been able to keep prices so reasonable. I love your weigh the plate lunch test; now you know you’re getting your money’s worth. One of my favorites there is their bbq pork – w/ rice or sandwich – both winners! I have to try their chili and mahimahi next time; shame to say that I’ve never eaten it.

    Pomai – I’ve heard that they have some ties with Rainbow Drive-In. Do you know if that’s true?

  6. Deanna, you’re correct. Owner Richie used to be the cook at Rainbow Drive-In.  I’m not sure if Rainbow Drive-In’s Chili is the same recipe Richie uses though. I’ll have to pick up a plate and compare it.
    Raph, back to normal. It was a knuckle-biter though.

  7. Did you notice it is less to mail the Combo Plate than the price itself! I wonder if they would consider deliveries. lol!

    If my math is right, your plate comes out 19.5¢ per ounce or $3.11 per pound, that’s about the price of a tri-tip roast at Safeway!

  8. Richie’s brings back some high school memories. Back then I think the chili dog plate was $2.99 or maybe $3.99. The boneless chicken plate was one of my favs along with an order of mandoo!

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