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Return of the Waffle Dog

It’s true—the local favorite is back.


Waffle dogs—not just for breakfast anymore. Dayton Asato whips up a batch at Island Glacier. photo: Karin Kovalsky
When KC Drive Inn closed its doors for good in March 2005, it not only marked the end of a family’s 70-year legacy in Honolulu’s restaurant business, it left countless customers (ourselves included) wondering if they’d ever have a waffle dog again.

So imagine our surprise when we spotted a sign at Waimalu Shopping Center’s Island Glacier store that read: “Original KC Waffle Dog Available 10:30 a.m. to Closing.” Could it be? Had those tasty hot dogs—coated with a slightly sweet batter, cooked in an industrial waffle iron until their edges are perfectly crunchy—magically reappeared in ‘Aiea, 12 miles away from Kapahulu Avenue?

“It’s the real deal,” confirms KC Drive Inn’s former general manager Dayton Asato, whose family had owned the restaurant since 1934. “After my family sold the property, people kept asking me about the waffle dogs. And I still had 15 waffle dog machines.”

Wanting to help out local organizations, Asato first made the waffle-dog machines, secret-recipe batter and his cooking services available for fundraisers. The idea was a hit. At a New Year’s festival held at the Japanese Cultural Center, people waited in line for an hour to buy a waffle dog.

“After being in the restaurant business for 30 years, I miss the customers a lot, so this is a good outlet for me” Asato says. “People are always asking me when I’m going to open another place. I’m thinking about it.”

Asato is looking for a Honolulu location from which to sell the waffle dogs, and he’s also considering bringing back ‘ono‘ono shakes, another KC Drive Inn favorite. Until then, customers can get their waffle-dog fix any day of the week at Island Glacier (Waimalu Shopping Center, 98-020 Kamehameha Highway) and on weekends at Tanioka’s (94-903 Farrington Highway, Waipahu). Organizations interested in renting waffle dog machines can visit www.kcwaffledog.com.

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Honolulu Magazine February 2019
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