What Are the Best Sellers at Rainbow Drive-In?

Think you know? The rankings switch up at each of the four locations.


Rainbow Drive In Best Sellers Aaron Yoshino

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


If you think the Mix Plate is Rainbow Drive-In’s top seller, you’re right. If you think it’s Boneless Chicken (with gravy all over), you’re also right. Since Kapahulu’s classic plate lunch spot started expanding across O‘ahu in 2018, it’s found, unsurprisingly, that the mix of best-selling dishes differs slightly at each location. The surprising thing is how little they differ. In theory, the Top 3 sellers at each of Rainbow’s four locations could produce a list of 12 menu items, right? In truth, they produce just four.


That’s not the only difference. Kapahulu gets by far the most tourist traffic (about 40% of its business), to be expected considering the new franchise spots are in Kalihi, Pearlridge and ‘Ewa Beach. Kalihi gets a good share of students from Damien Memorial School around the corner and Farrington High School a few blocks away, meaning that while summer is peak season for the Kapahulu drive-in, it’s the slowest time of year for Kalihi. Also, if you take Kapahulu out of the picture, locals really love boneless chicken, which ranks among the Top 3 at Kalihi, Pearlridge and ‘Ewa Beach. Finally, what is it about ‘Ewa Beach and Slush Floats?


Read on to see where your favorites rank at the different Rainbows, and keep scrolling to find out Rainbow’s eight overall best-selling dishes.


Top 3 at Kapahulu

Rainbow Drive In Mix Plate Aaron Yoshino

Mix plate. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

No. 1: Mix Plate. Surfers, tourists and those who want it all make this the clear winner, accounting for 15% of sales at Kapahulu. Recommended: the 95-cent side of brown gravy to go with the boneless chicken, teri beef and breaded mahi mahi. “You can have your boneless chicken with gravy AND your mahi with gravy,” says Rainbow’s marketing director Crystine Ito. “A lot of people get chili on the rice, so you’re eating the chili and the gravy and the mac and the rice.” Warning: No subs are allowed for the mix plate.


No. 2: Loco Moco Plate. A solid favorite of locals and a hearty curiosity for tourists, this accounts for nearly 10% of sales, says Rainbow CEO Chris Iwamura.


No. 3: Slush Float


Top 3 at Kalihi

Rainbow Drive In Loco Moco Plate Aaron Yoshino

Loco moco plate. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


No. 1: Boneless Chicken Plate. Rainbow claims its famous brown gravy has Asian undertones. The umami is perceptible. A shrimp-based infusion, maybe?


No. 2: Mix Plate


No. 3: Loco Moco Plate


Top 3 at Pearlridge

Rainbow Drive In Boneless Chicken Aaron Yoshino

Boneless chicken plate. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


No. 1: Mix Plate


No. 2: Boneless Chicken Plate. More boneless chicken trivia: Until a few years ago, hundreds of pounds of chicken thighs were deboned by hand for this classic. Every day.


No. 3: Slush Float


Top 3 at ‘Ewa

Rainbow Drive In Slush Float Aaron Yoshino

Slush Float. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


No. 1: Slush Float. What? The top seller at Rainbow’s newest franchise location has been on the menu so long, even Iwamura, the third generation of his family to run the chain, doesn’t know its origins. What it is: “Strawberry slush” with vanilla ice cream.


No. 2: Mix Plate


No. 3: Boneless Chicken Plate


Rainbow Drive In Chili Dog Plate Aaron Yoshino

Chili dog plate. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


No, the chili dog plate doesn’t make any Top 3. But it’s still among the best sellers. Here’s the overall top-seller list for the chain as a whole.


Mix Plate
Loco Moco Plate
Slush Float
Boneless Chicken Plate
Rainbow Royal
BBQ Beef Plate
Chili Dog Plate
Shoyu Chicken Plate (this plate is a special served on different days at different locations)


Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Aaron Yoshino

Shoyu chicken special. Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino