A&W Restaurant: Throwback Americana without the stigma of Mickey Ds
It really took a fairly long time for me to fondly warm up to the A&W Restaurants in Okinawa. A&W in most respects is a forgotten hamburger franchise back in America which can be hard to find and harder to force one's self to eat at. The 26 locations in Okinawa seem to always be at least semi-full of loyal customers, especially in the late afternoon and evenings as it reigns as the long time favorite of those that just want to sit around for hours to talk while sipping on coffee or root beer. Then there's the exciting drive-in locations in which you just park your car, order from your car, and wait for a girl in a puffy 1950s dress wearing roller skates to bring your food to you, complete with a car window stand to hold your food. Alas, the downtown Uruma City location isn't a drive in location but it is open 24 hours and always sells a few varieties of soup. Surprisingly it's probably a little bit more expensive than eating at McDonalds but I prefer to not always get my burgers at the Golden Arches, so I don't mind the slightly extra cost. Look for the orange and brown A+W sign anywhere in southern and central Okinawa, Nago, Ishigaki Island, and Miyako Island. Go for the food, root beer made on the premises, old throwback fastfood decor, and the chance to eat real American burgers without the stigma and guilt of eating at McDonalds in yet another country. There are also two A&W locations on American bases in Okinawa but these do not include soup or root beer made at those locations.