50's Cafe on Route 36 takes you back to States

50's Cafe on Route 36 takes you back to States

by Pilar Davis
Stripes Okinawa Archives
One thing many may miss about the States is the unending supply of pancake or French toasts breakfasts. Sure, base eateries have these covered on weekends but what about those weeknight hankerings? Well, crave no more.
Hayashi Oshiro has thrown us a syrupy lifeline at his 50’s Café on Route 36. He also offers standard American food such as hamburgers and French fries cooked to perfection. He even offers a bountiful shrimp fried rice.
And if you don’t mind taking a little extra time to explain exactly what you want, 50’s Café even makes variations of its standard menu items. That thinking is a part of what made Oshiro offer the all-day breakfast menu.
“We try to get more families in,” he explained. “We have a kid’s plate too.”
The kid’s breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage will only set you back about five bucks. The adult version runs about $8. There’s also a good selection of beers for mom and dad so everyone goes home full and happy.
Eggs anyway you want ‘em and buttermilk pancakes just like mom used to make served even after the sun goes down are merely the opening act. The real show is the decor. 50’s Café is decked out entirely in Hollywood memorabilia that would make eBay look like a mom and pop auction. Marilyn, Bogart, Elvis – all the greats blanket nearly every square inch of the 50’s Café’s walls.
The cathedral like ceiling is beautifully painted as an exact replica (OK, just a really cool one) of a big blue sky with billowy white clouds. Guests get as captured by the décor and memorabilia as they do the food. If you look really close at many of the photos you’ll find they are autographed by the stars themselves – signed to the soft spoken owner and operator of 50’s Café.
“I had a limo business for 15 years in L.A.,” Oshiro said. “Sometimes, depending on if the star feels good, I’d ask them (for an autograph). They usually said yes.”
He must have gotten a lot of yeses. Every star one can think of from the ’50s and ’60s adorn the wall. There are even photos of more current celebs like Dustin Hoffman and Linda Carter personally thanking Hayashi and wishing him well.
The 1950s diner feel is accented by red and white checkered tablecloths, aluminum tables and chairs and musical transitions between doo wop and big band tunes in the background. It’s a trip back in time. If not for the Japanese restaurant next door, you’d half expect the Fonz to sashay in complete with a blonde and redhead under each arm.
For an extra taste of home, Oshiro has a boarder of license plates from each of the 50 states ringing the walls.
Good food, good atmosphere and easy to find, 50’s Café is a straight shot on Route 36. Take Exit 5 off the expressway for about four blocks. It’s about 10 minutes drive from Camp Courtney and Camp McTureous. 50’s Café is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except Mondays. See them online at <www.burritorice.com>.
This story was originally published in Stripes Okinawa, March 19, 2010 edition.

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