comscore Humble Heights Drive Inn shuts down | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Humble Heights Drive Inn shuts down


    A sign posted outside the shuttered Aiea Heights Drive Inn contains a goodbye to faithful customers.

Heights Drive Inn in Aiea has closed after 39 years of serving local-style plate lunches that many a customer washed down with a sweet, citrusy Green River soft drink.

The restaurant was at the base of the Aiea Medical Building at 99-128 Aiea Heights Drive, across from Aiea Shopping Center, just above Moanalua Road.

“Six months ago I had to tell my workers there’s no other choice,” owner Enid Okubo said. She wanted to be fair to her employees, some of them who had been with the company for decades.

Okubo asked them to keep it a secret, but this is Hawaii, and word leaked out. Heights Drive Inn was besieged, as people thought the closure was imminent. For months. Seven days a week.

Okubo had planned to close Dec. 15, or whenever the food ran out. The last day turned out to be Sunday, and now a sign posted outside addresses loyal customers: “For many years you have been a vital part of our lives. We will miss you.”

Okubo asked that nothing be published until after the closure.

For more on the venerable drive-in see Wednesday’s Crave section.

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    • Braddah, you should have had the Fried Noodles that Kanda’s in ‘Aiea Heights used to serve up 50 years ago. Since they closed, no one, and I mean NO ONE, has been able to duplicate their signature dish. Back then Small Fried Noodles were 25 cents, Large was 35 cents. Somehow, I know that Kanda’s Fried Noodles will be served up in Heaven. Until then, I’ll just have to live on fond memories.

      • Another great memory. We use to cruise up to Kanda’s after school. We use to eat the cone sushi from there. It was a awesome. There was a small convenience store next to it. We use to call it Huddy’s store. Candy and Icee.

        • Mrs. Huddy was the owner of the store. The name of the store was called Aiea Community Store. Next to Huddy’s was the Laundromat.

        • Was there a barbershop by the laundromat? I remember getting my first haircut there. Cried all the way through. Poor Bachan having to put up with that. My great uncle ran the Shell Service Station on Kam Highway next to Aiea Stream. I miss those hanabata days.

      • Wow forgot the name but remember it in that small building they call it now a strip mall. After playing at the gym that was the place. We used to walk over from the older Halawa heights.

        • Remember when you could take your pot and cover and the corneR saimin mama would fill it. Remember when the family had the “charge book” that the Japanese store owner would write the charge. Then settle at the end of the month. Remember when you could cash your check with your “bango” number badge. Remember the Leeward coast movie houses had no roof and movies was only at night. Then the kids that couldn’t afford a dime would throw dog poop over the top. Lol.

        • I remember in high school we did a historical report on Aiea and one of the topics was that convenience / community store. Apparently it was regular gathering place for the plantation town. At one time there were these metal rings that were embedded in the concrete out side of the store. No one could figure out what the heck they were for. The old timers said they were use to tie down the horses that were used in the plantation. I don’t know if its true, but thing have changed.

  • It’s too bad they have closed, but 39 years is a good run for any business. Things have changed in Aiea. Gone with the Heights Drive Inn are Speedy’s Supermarket, Kami Kutters, Ige’s Lunch Wagon, Huddy’s Store, and Kapiolani Bakery. I think the only one left standing is the Forty Niner Drive Inn.

    • Add the Ohara Store where the H-1 ‘Aiea Heights Drive overpass now sits. I remember buying soda (the kind where the cup dropped, the ice, syrup, and water were then added) for a nickel at the vending machine outside Speedy’s (Jet) Supermarket in the ’60s. And ‘Aiea Supermarket sat where the ‘Aiea Medical Building now stands. And the Post Office and Bank of Hawai’i where the Shell station now sits. I have many, many more fond memories from when ‘Aiea was still a sugar town and Pearlridge was covered in sugar cane. Those days are long gone.

      • Wow you bring back some great memories. I don’t remember Aiea Supermarket where the Aiea Medical Building is. Probably because I moved there in the 70s. I do remember the two story building that was there and there was the Small Engine repair shop on bottom floor and the Aiea Stamp store on the second floor. I use to collect stamps as a kid. Thanks for the memories.

        • Small Engine Clinic moved next to Cutter Ford back in the mid 70s. The owner’s son now owns Aloha Power Equipment.

    • Forty Niner is now on their third owner. The current Forty Niner has expanded their menu and serve dinner. Previous owners only served breakfast and lunch. Aiea Chop Suey is still there but not the original owner. Not sure if Aiea Bowl is owned by the original owners.

  • Maryann was the best. Somehow could remember so many regular customers name. Enid would always peek her head out awaiting order. Super sized scoop Mac salad the best

    • It was called “Bay Side Drive inn” and I believe same Ohana. BTW, same Fried noodles/Teriyaki, Mac, rice can be swallowed at Tamura’s deli in Waianae! Let’s all get Obese! Cheee Hooo!

  • My kids used to go to the doctor in that building and whenever we went. I’d sometimes get food but always got a green river drink, not just because it’s hard to find elsewhere, but because they served it with crushed ice which pretty much NO ONE has nowadays.

  • I went there only one time and thought the food was good. For some reason I never made it back. After decades had gone by I thought they had closed. Too late now. But I wish all of them well.

    • +1 – small family owned places have character. The chain stores and big box places – sometimes I forget where I stay even. Bye-bye Aiea Heights Drive-In – your food was good and reasonable. YMMV

  • Oh no! We always stopped to get something whenever we visited any doctor in that building. Everyone working there were so kind and the food was tasty and reasonably priced.

    Practically speaking, now folks who have been fasting 12 hours for lab blood work don’t have someplace to get a quick bite after samples are drawn. Hope another food service goes into that space.

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