2808 Sepulveda Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
The bakery part of King’s Hawaiian was started in 1950, when Robert Taira opened his first bakery in Hilo, Hawaii. Years later Mr Taira expanded the business by adding a restaurant in Honolulu. In 1977 bakery production began in Torrance, California and the name became connected with tasty bakery items. In 1988, the Torrance Bakery & Restaurant opened on Sepulveda Blvd. in the location of the old Ichabod Crane’s Restaurant. The property is located at the corner of Hickory and Sepulveda Blvd. just West of Crenshaw Blvd.
CARL: I grew up in Marble Estates, the neighborhood just south of King’s Hawaiian restaurant so I know the area well. I can remember going to the fancy restaurant at that location called “Ichabod Crane’s” for special occasions in the 1980s before watching it close. If I remember correctly, there were two brothers that owned a restaurant together and one brother split off and one stayed. Only the architecture of that restaurant remains as the new tenant, King’s Hawaiian Restaurant and Bakery, has brightened the place up and made it much more casual. I recall my first impression of the new restaurant – a story our neighbors told of the owner walking door-to-door in the neighborhood giving bread as gifts to the neighbors. My first thought was that he was trying to buy their favor as there was some controversy about traffic spilling to the neighborhood, and the east exit is still blocked to this day. I later came to realize the genius of his efforts was all about being a good businessman and I have repeated this story many times when discussing business with friends. I presume that businessman was Robert Taira but I have no way of knowing for sure. Either way, I learned from this and brought that philosophy to my own business ventures.
Upon arriving at the restaurant we were quickly seated at a center table. There are booths along the perimeter but they seemed to all be occupied. Our waitress quickly introduced herself and took our drink order. As usual I ordered a Diet Coke. The waitress brought a small basket of the famous King’s Hawaiian sweet bread (pictured to the left). I am a huge fan of the King’s Hawaiian bread and we regularly get that at the grocery store. I like it so much I’d be tempted to go and just eat the bread!
I get to King’s Hawaiian Restaurant about 3 or 4 times a year – mostly for breakfast. Even though we were her for lunch, I was tempted to order their AMAZING French Toast made with their fresh bread. But, since this is Lunch Pig, not Breakfast Pig (yet) I decided to stick with the lunch menu. There is a variety of lunch specials to choose from with pork, chicken and beef. Prices range from $6.95 to $8.95 for a “Mix” Plate that lets you select two items from the lunch menu. I opted for the King’s Hawaiian Orange Chicken Bowl. The bowl is a good size and had a nice mix of broccoli and other veggies in the mix. The chicken was fresh, the batter and cooking was just right and the rice was sticky – just how I like it. For me, it was just the right amount of food, good clean restaurant, friendly service, a good price, easy in and out….what more could you want? Well, my only complaint would that there wasn’t a huge variety of items on the lunch menu – I counted 7 total which might get a tad boring if you went frequently. I give King’s Hawaiian a super solid 4 Pigs.
Oliver: I had not eaten here before and was looking forward to it. Growing up we always had some King’s Hawaiian Bread in the house, it tasted great then, and it tastes great now, not a lot of things from our childhood can stand the test of time so well. As per their name they specialize in Hawaiian food. Chicken, pork and steak are all on the menu in various Hawaiian variants. Upon seating they bring out a basket of what they are known for, Hawaiian Bread. If you have never had this, you MUST try it. You don’t need any butter on these, but they still give you some.
I love seeing a lunch special menu, which always makes it easier to figure out what to get at a new place. Not a lot of choices, but enough. I went with the Katsu chicken, it is a filet of chicken, breaded and deep fried. Along with some rice and macaroni salad makes for a great lunch. The serving size was large, and the plate worked well with the HD aspect ration of my Droid X. As great as everything tasted, what really was nice was seeing the bill, for two of us with drinks came to $21.00. I call that a great deal for the quality, quantity and presentation. I will definitely be returning and give them 4.5 pigs.
them 4.5 pigs.