Two weeks ago I wrote about Scotty’s Drive-In, one of the first places on Oahu to sell french fries. The owner, Chuck Fraser, also owned Chip’s, next door on Keeaumoku Street where Samsung Plaza is today. Both opened in 1956 and closed around 1974.
He owned another Scotty’s in Pearl City, the Village Inn in Kahala, Rob Roy’s restaurant in Kailua, the Crouching Lion Inn in Kaaawa and Hawaii Blueprint, which is still in operation.
I was surprised that two restaurants that have been gone for over 40 years hit such a nerve with my readers. Over 60 people wrote to me or commented on the story.
One surprise was hearing from three couples about how Scotty’s played a role in their marriage!
Mike Medeiros, originally from Kalihi, said, “I met my wife of 55 years at Scotty’s Drive-In in 1960 when she spilled root beer on my foot. We got married two years later. I am now retired and live in Kona.”
Former police officer Douglas Brennan said he met his wife, Monica, at Scotty’s when he answered a call to investigate a fender bender in their parking lot. “Monica called the police to report it. If not for Scotty’s, I probably would not have met the love of my life. We’re now great-grandparents!”
Shawn Kajiyama said it brought back the memory of his first date with his wife. “We went to the Royal Theater to see ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ My wife does not like horror flicks and was scared to death.
“After the movie we went to Chip’s and had a really nice meal. That was in December of 1968. We got married in 1971 and are still married. Maybe it was Chip’s that helped!”
Former manager Conklin Nakamura said he “never realized how big an impact Scotty’s Drive-In made and how it was such an important part of people’s lives while it existed.”
Many readers raved about Scotty’s french fries. The drive-in turned 25 bags of potatoes weighing 100 pounds each a day into fried goodness for 14 cents a serving.
“I remember those fries,” Kat Koshi told me. “The saltiness was a perfect ending after a day at the beach. Somehow the salt left in my mouth from the ocean completed the balance with the fries from Scotty’s.
“We would sprinkle pepper on top and add ketchup from the counter, and together with their thick chocolate malts, we were in heaven!
“Once you stuck that straw in the malt, it wouldn’t go anywhere. The malt was so creamy and thick, almost like ice cream. My taste buds today are dancing on my tongue at the mere thought!”
Jim Mistysyn said Scotty’s was one of the rare places his family could afford to go to on a regular basis.
“My family, as well as some other team members,would often go there after Police Activities League baseball practice at Cartwright Field.
“The french fries were great, but what I found most special were the hamburgers and their unusual mustard/mayonnaise sauce. I can still recall the distinct taste and aroma.
“Over my life, there are several recipes I wish I could have gotten: Scotty’s mustard/mayonnaise sauce, Pollo (chicken) Ala Roma at the old Trattoria restaurant in Waikiki, the sourdough table bread at Orson’s Chowder House at Ward Warehouse and the Portuguese sweetbread at Toma’s in Pahoa on the Big Island.”
I talked with Lori Wong, whose family owned over a dozen local restaurants (Byron’s, Andrew’s, Fishmonger’s Wife, Wong’s Okazuya). She told me Orson’s sourdough bread was made in San Francisco and flown in daily.
Many readers asked me for the recipe for Scotty’s special mustard/mayonnaise sauce. I asked Nakamura, the former manager, to reconstruct it.
He told me it is a half-cup of mayonnaise, a quarter-cup of French’s yellow mustard and about a teaspoon of garlic powder, or to taste, blended together.
Adrian Kozuki fondly remembers the shrimp boat from Scotty’s. “They had french fries and shrimp on a paper container with a ketchup/hot mustard mix. The absolute best! We came from Kailua for it.”
John Spondike agreed. “One of the most popular items on their menu was Scotty’s shrimp boat — a container that looked like a row boat filled with those great french fries and topped with battered and deep-fried shrimp. I personally believe Scotty’s couldn’t keep up with the demand for this meal.
“On Saturdays, parents would drop off their kids at Rainbow Rollerland, and we would spend the whole day there skating, taking lessons and just hanging out with friends. It was truly a time of innocence where our parents knew we would be safe and have a great day. Sadly, parents wouldn’t even think of doing something like that today.”
There was a Rainbow Bounce next door and a Trampoline Club up the street, run by Larry and Hilda Anderson, Joe Harding told me. He and his sister were there or skating at Rainbow Rollerland quite often.
Spondike says he can’t even count how many hours his sister and he spent bouncing on those trampolines. “I don’t ever remember anyone being hurt at either establishment, but we kids sure burned a lot of calories there and those two places made us hungry for Scotty’s.”
Tod Kurihara told me he grew up where Nauru Tower is today and went to Washington Intermediate. “ I rode my bike past Scotty’s, Like Like Drive Inn, Rainbow Rollerland, Chips and Stardust Lanes every day. My pit stop was Scotty’s.
“When we were younger our dad used to take us fishing at Sandy Beach. Twice a month, on the way home we stopped by Scotty’s for burgers and fries. Your article brought back those memories. Mahalo.”
I also heard from Bill Souza, who said he was Makiki-born and raised, about a half-mile from Scotty’s. “In my midteens we frequented Scotty’s in the summer about four to five times a week. It was our ‘Happy Days.’
“It also was a stone’s throw from the Civic Auditorium, which catered to us teens with the roller derby and Show of Stars. And afterward we’d eat at Scotty’s.
“We had dance matinees at Rainbow Rollerland on Saturdays. It was a great meeting place for high school kids. The nearby trampolines were all ground level over a pit. No need for a spotter. Viva el Scotty’s!”
“My sister and I were kids when Scotty’s opened,” Jeanne Nakashima wrote. “It was so exciting. We could watch the drive-in movie (where Don Quijote is today) or the people bouncing on the trampolines. We would go up to the huge window and watch them putting the potatoes through the machine that turned them into french fries.
“My parents indulged us by taking us there for dinner sometimes. Daddy didn’t really want to eat hamburgers, so we would cook rice and pack it to go in the car. He would take a can of Vienna sausage and put it on the engine of the car. We lived in Manoa, and by the time we got to Scotty’s, the sausage was hot. So daddy had his rice and sausage, and we had our hamburgers!
“I asked him about this, and at first he couldn’t remember. He’ll be 100 in June. As we talked he remembered putting the Vienna sausage on the engine. He could not remember if he ever ate any hamburgers. That’s my fond memory of Scotty’s.”
When I met with Nakamura, out of the blue he mentioned seeing an obituary for a former favorite customer of Chip’s: Tatsuo Yoshiyama, who is my wife’s uncle. He died at 101 last month. What a small world!
Bob Sigall’s “The Companies We Keep 5” book contains stories from the last three years of Rearview Mirror. “The Companies We Keep 1 and 2” are also back in print. Email Sigall at Sigall@yahoo.com.