Hawaiian barbecue is no-frills and mixed, just like the Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur who made it mainstream: Eddie Flores, Jr.
Hawaii’s quintessential plate lunch of meat, macaroni salad and two scoops of white rice originated in the late 1800s as the midday meal for workers on Hawaii’s pineapple and sugar plantations, with immigrants from Japan, China, the Philippines, Korea and Portugal adding their food traditions. Hence, you’ll find katsu, char siu, adobo, Korean fried chicken and Portuguese sausage on the menu, in addition to native Hawaiian dishes like Kalua pork.
It seems only fitting then that L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was recently rated by Entrepreneur magazine as the top Asian fast food franchise in the U.S. The Honolulu-based restaurant chain serves affordable island comfort food at more than 200 locations from California to Florida, all of which are independently owned, mostly by immigrants. (Panda Express, in contrast, owns all of its outlets.) L&L also has two locations in Japan, with Flores open to more Asian expansion. The company recorded $95 million in sales in 2018.
And the founder and CEO is an immigrant himself.
I met Flores at an L&L inside a Walmart in downtown Honolulu. He’s ambitious and a dreamer, “cocky,” as his wife would say. He’s working to have an L&L in every Walmart on the mainland.
Flores’ family moved to Hawaii from China when he was a youth, the eldest boy of seven children. His Filipino father, a musician, and Chinese mother, have sixth-grade educations and were part of the middle class in Hong Kong. In Hawaii, his father worked as a janitor and his mother a restaurant cashier and dishwasher to make ends meet.
That’s what sparked Flores’ entrepreneurial spirit. “I told myself I’m not going to be poor,” he said.
But it wasn’t easy for the 72-year-old, who had a learning disability and repeated grades four times in China. Still, he learned to be aggressive and business savvy, working in banks and then real estate. In a few years, he became a millionaire and bought a restaurant for his mom in 1976, which would eventually be the first L&L, and the birth of a food empire.
Before poke became Hawaii’s hottest food trend, Flores popularized Spam musubi, a handheld snack of seaweed-wrapped grilled luncheon meat on top of rice. He says he was serving brown rice on his menu before most of the mainland U.S. knew what it was.
“No one ever took a concept of Hawaii to the mainland and made it. We were the first one,” Flores said. “We’re the only true Hawaiian brand serving Hawaiian food.”
To stay true to the brand, potential franchisees spend time in Hawaii to get to know the local icon’s “Aloha spirit.”
His upbringing made him a long-time champion of immigrants, especially the Filipino community in Hawaii. And while he made his fortune in real estate and franchising, he says his real legacy is building the 50,000-square-foot Filipino Community Center, the largest cultural center outside the Philippines. It aims to support the 300,000 or so Filipinos living and working in the state–about a quarter of the local population–with health and educational services as well as entrepreneurial and business incubation. Furthermore, about 60% of the new immigrants in Hawaii are from the Philippines.
“It’s for the pride of the Filipino. Filipinos are relegated to the lowest socioeconomic status here, like janitor, dishwasher,” Flores said. “I believe in political empowerment for the community and teaching them entrepreneurship so they can own their own businesses.”
Many of the Filipinos in Hawaii have little education, so it will take two to three generations to move up, Flores added. “Of the 1,200 board of directors of publicly traded companies here, only three are Filipino.”
Flores has also brought Hawaiian business delegations to the Philippines to explore opportunities with the motherland. But he admits cultural differences make it difficult to do business there. Entrepreneurship doesn’t come naturally for many Filipinos, he explains. Even in the United States, where immigrants grow up believing in the American dream, starting a business requires taking risks and a willingness to fail–an approach that runs counter to the more cautious culture of many Asians.
It’s a reality Flores is working to change, especially as an immigrant who overcame poverty and adversity to become one of the most successful Asian food franchise operators in the U.S.
“We are first-generation immigrants,” he said, “and since we’ve been able to achieve the American dream, I want to give back.”
I’m an international news anchor, Asia correspondent and freelance content creator based in Manila, with 20 years of experience in news, business and lifestyle reporting, producing and anchoring across Asia and the United States, including Singapore, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. In 2017, I launched ABS-CBN News Channel’s morning newscasts Early Edition and News Now as lead anchor and managing editor and hosted the popular “Food Diplomacy” segment. From 2013-2016, I was an anchor/correspondent for Channel NewsAsia and hosted “What’s Cooking,” a weekly food and travel show. Before moving to Asia, I worked in New York as an anchor, reporter and editor for several major media companies, including Forbes, CNBC, HGTV, Yahoo and Bloomberg. Born in Los Angeles, I graduated from UCLA and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism
Edit: I honestly can’t believe I posted this garbage video lol. Forgive the low quality. I intend on replacing this video with something much better. But thank you for those who watched through this atrocity haha. I went into L&L Hawaiian BBQ in Las Vegas to see what it was all about! Check it out :D. Follow me on social media!! Facebook: www.facebook.com/bigpileofwesley Twitter: www.twitter.com/bigpileofwesley Instagram: www.instagram.com/bigpileofwesley Snapchat: bigpileofwesley
Pat Brown isn’t an inventor so much as a reinventor. He sees something that works, but not well, and figures out how to do the same thing, only a lot better. And along the way, he’s reinvented himself into perhaps the most unlikely entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.
Brown trained as a pediatrician but, seeing that genetics figure prominently in diseases such as cancer, repurposed himself as a scientific researcher. Within a few years, he’d created something called the DNA microarray, a technology that has allowed scientists to better study genetic code. It was a breakthrough, and for most people that would be a career peak. Not Pat. In 2001, frustrated by limited worldwide access to scientific research, he co-founded the Public Library of Science, a radical revision of academic publishing.
A decade later, he saw a vastly greater inefficiency: meat. Raising and killing animals, he realized, is an environmentally expensive way to produce protein, demanding tremendous amounts of water, land, and energy. “There’s a $1.6 trillion global meat and poultry market being served by prehistoric technology,” he fumes. So Pat, then at Stanford, ditched academics for startup life. Today, he’s the founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, a company that’s reinventing meat.
Unlike entrepreneurs who tally their startups like animal heads mounted in a man cave, Brown wasn’t looking to add founder to his résumé. “I couldn’t have imagined myself doing this,” he told me over a lunch of Impossible burgers in Redwood City, California. “But the most powerful, subversive tool on earth is the free market. If you can take a problem and figure out a solution that involves making consumers happier, you’re unstoppable.”
And so, in 2011, and nearing 60, he launched Impossible Foods. First, he needed investors. “My actual pitch, if you showed it to a business school class, would’ve had people rolling in the aisles because it was so amateurish,” he admits. But he could tell potential investors, with complete conviction: What I am proposing is going to make you even more obscenely rich than you already are. “I didn’t say it in quite those words,” he notes, “but I knew that this was something that was going to be incredibly successful. And that worked.”
Oh, yeah. Starting with a $9 million round in 2011, Impossible has raised nearly $750 million, including $300 million in May. It is now valued at more than $2 billion.
To say Pat Brown is unconventional is to say that cows moo. But it’s important to celebrate him, because, though few of us are as smart, many of us are possessed of the same inspiration. We just lack the conviction that we’re the entrepreneurial type. Yet many of the best founders don’t have an MBA–what they have is a sense of opportunity, a hunch that they’re on to something the rest of the world hasn’t quite spotted. Something they can’t let pass by. I was inspired by Pat to take my own leap away from a secure job and hatch my own startup.
Part of his success is that he’s honest about his capabilities. He has hired well, including a terrific operations team and an ace CFO whom he calls an “investor whisperer.” How did he know he could survive moving from scientist to CEO? He figured that, given the scope of the meat problem (massive and global), few people would actually go about trying to solve it.
He’s not a guy who places limits on himself, and that’s his message. “There’s a big phenomenon of people self-censoring, worrying about the imposter syndrome,” Brown says. “They say, ‘Someone has to do this, but I’m not the guy,’ or, ‘I’m not qualified.’ People limit their own opportunities.”
He pauses to take a big bite of burger. “There’s no road map for what we’re doing,” he continues. “But someone has to solve this problem.” He figures it might as well be him.
Impossible Foods looks to expand as the demand for meat alternatives continues to grow. The company is a leader in the food-tech industry producing plant-based foods that look at taste like meat. David Lee, CFO of Impossible Foods, joined CBSN to talk about the company and the emergence of the meatless market. Subscribe to the CBS News Channel HERE: http://youtube.com/cbsnews Watch CBSN live HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1PlLpZ7 Follow CBS News on Instagram HERE: https://www.instagram.com/cbsnews/ Like CBS News on Facebook HERE: http://facebook.com/cbsnews Follow CBS News on Twitter HERE: http://twitter.com/cbsnews Get the latest news and best in original reporting from CBS News delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to newsletters HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1RqHw7T Get your news on the go! Download CBS News mobile apps HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1Xb1WC8 Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream CBSN and local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites like Star Trek Discovery anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B — CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On
It’s hard to believe that in 2016, Atlanta-based restaurant Ammazza was forced to close its doors after not one, but two car accidents severely damaged the popular Edgewood Avenue space. But in November 2018, Ammazza opened the doors to a new restaurant in downtown Decatur. And months later, in March 2019, the local pizza joint officially re-opened its Edgewood location. Since November, the crowds have quickly returned and in addition to a new, second space, Ammazza has also welcomed several additions to its menu.
In June, likely to the excitement of foodies dedicated to a plant-based lifestyle, Ammazza announced a new, all-vegan menu. The hearty, all-vegan menu is comprised of five antipasto dishes, eight pizzas, dessert and a kids section.
On the pizza end, there’s the classic Vegan Margherita. A simpler option for those hoping to quell a pizza craving, the Vegan Margherita is made using house tomato sauce, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and vegan cheese. If a plethora of toppings is more your thing, there’s also the Vegan Piccante. The Vegan Piccante comes loaded with house tomato sauce, fresh basil, spicy calabria peppers, caramelized onions, red peppers, marinated artichokes and vegan cheese.
Need even more toppings? Ammazza offers about a dozen additional toppings (for an added cost) that range from sauteed wild mushrooms to spicy calabrian agave. Pizzas vary in price from $15 to $24, depending on size and selection.
The Antipasto selection on the new menu is brimming with a variety of salads. There are classics like Caesar and Spinach Salad, as well as not so traditional options like the Orzo Salad and Basil Salad. Simple yet robust, the Basil Salad is a medley of field greens, marinated artichokes, olives, red bell peppers, Roma tomatoes and house basil vinaigrette.
And since there’s always room for dessert, Ammazza’s all-vegan menu includes a vegan seasonal fruit tart, as well as a chef’s selection.
Curious about Ammazza’s boozier options? The pizzeria’s beverage director and general manager, Daniel Bridges revealed to the Atlanta Journal Constitution in January that Italian liqueurs and fresh ingredients will be a focus.
“We’re focusing on Italian liqueurs, amaro, and things like that,” Bridges said. “I like to keep my cocktails pretty simple, just use fresh ingredients, and let the spirits speak for themselves. But we definitely sell a lot of beer and wine. We change up the draft list almost daily. We try to stay local and regional with beer, and we have Italian wines.”
Ammazza’s all-vegan menu can be found at both their Decatur and Edgewood locations.
As the owner of Lushworthy.com (a beer, wine and cocktail blog), I’ve penned stories on all things booze-related for nearly a decade. In addition to holding down the fort at Lushworthy.com, my musings and other written works on food and drink can be found across the web. With my writing, I’ve had the opportunity to talk craft beer with rapper Tech N9ne, explore the history of New Orleans’ famed Café Brulot cocktail, sample spirits and cocktails from across the globe, and much more. I’m also a proud, longtime resident of Atlanta, Georgia, and an avid foodie. I keep myself heavily in the know when it concerns news on the latest restaurants, breweries and bars in the city.
Los Angeles-based nutritionist Kelly LeVeque boasts a client roster that reads like a who’s who of Hollywood: Jessica Alba, Chelsea Handler and Molly Sims are just a few of the stars who have Kelly on speed dial to talk health and recipe-making. Between promotional tours for her first book, “Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever,” we caught up with the wellness guru to learn more about how food affects your sleep, the best ways to unwind before bed, and what her go-to late-night snacks are.
So tell us: How does food affect your sleep?
Research shows that consuming food close to bedtime can disrupt sleep and increase the likelihood of weight gain. Also, there is a natural cleansing of the brain that happens during sleep, and it needs a certain amount of blood flow to do that. It’s a preventive way to avoid things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. When you go to sleep on a full stomach, your body redirects a lot of the blood flow to your digestive system. It’s important to completely digest your food to ensure a good night’s sleep, prevent neurodegenerative diseases and avoid weight gain.
What should we be eating for breakfast?
I like to start my day with a low sugar, high fiber meal like my Spa Smoothie. My clients can’t get enough of this recipe. Full of protein and healthy fats, this blend will leave you satisfied until lunch.
When should you finish your last meal of the day?
Three to four hours before bed.
What foods should people stay away from if they have trouble sleeping?
Some people think wine or alcohol will help them fall asleep. While libations might make you feel a bit more tired and relaxed, they can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. I would definitely avoid alcohol as well as any type of caffeine after lunch. Things like sugar and desserts are known to keep you awake! People often have their biggest meal of the day at night and that can become energy in the form of blood sugar that causes restless sleep. I recommend focusing on foods that balance your blood sugar like healthy fat, moderate protein, non-starchy vegetables and carbohydrates.
Do you recommend any kind of natural supplement for better sleep?
Kavinace ultra pm by NeuroScience is basically a precursor to creating neurotransmitters in the brain that help you sleep, and – bonus – it has a little melatonin in it!
How do you suggest unwinding before bed?
I love to take a bath or hot shower. The warm water helps to calm the body. I also recommend adaptogens and teas to signal to the body it’s time to unwind. It’s important to turn down the lights and turn your phone to night mode – the blue light stops the production of melatonin in the body.
What do you keep on your bedside table?
I actually don’t have a bedside table! I have a very minimalist room. I keep water out and a few essential oils by Saje that I use before bed. I rub them on my wrists and neck to help me relax after a long day. I also have ear plugs and an eye mask – they really make a difference!
What are your healthy snack recommendations?
I suggest a snack that is going to calm hunger but not spike blood sugar. A tablespoon of almond butter or coconut yogurt is very satiating! I also have a recipe for freezer fudge, which is coconut oil, almond butter, unsweetened cocoa powder and a little bit of monk fruit or stevia mixed together. It tastes like chocolate fudge but has no sugar. Win win!
The title of your book is “Body Love.” What does that term mean to you?
I find that when we think about feeling our best – being tight, being toned and being lean – the common notion is that we have to deprive ourselves. But it’s about loving your body through food and making smart choices.