Eddie Flores

Photo from Brandon Dela Cruz

Eddie Flores of L & L Hawaiian Barbecue has been keeping busy not only with his business, but also with a new book, community work and trips around the world.

“I have been very busy, although I have been telling people that I’m semi-retired,” admits Flores, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Oct. 28, 1998.

Since then, L & L has expanded to close to 200 locations, and Flores is now focusing on the international market.

“We opened in New Zealand, American Samoa and Japan (two locations),” he says. “We plan to open in China in May and Seoul during the summer. We also have inquiries from Indonesia and the Philippines.”

Flores also published $266 Million Winning Lottery Recipes: L & L Hawaiian Barbecue Cookbook last year, and it was on the best-seller list in Hawaii.

“I am always looking for challenges,” Flores explains. “Since I flunked English at UH I told myself that I can write a best-seller.

“I wrote a funny cookbook, and it is a miracle to be a top seller, since I can’t cook and I can’t write.”

He’s planning another comical cookbook for next year, which will be his fourth book – his first two books were business-related.

When he’s not writing or expanding his business, Flores has been taking trips with his wife of 30 years, Elaine.

The couple journeyed to the Amazon jungle earlier this year and took a cruise to Morocco and the Canary Islands last December.

“My wife loved the Amazon jungle,” he says. “For me, it is like trekking to Manoa Falls in heavy rain, mud and with the company of hundreds of mosquitos. Hawaii no ka oi. It is better to stay at home.”

Despite all that he’s been up to, Flores has his priorities set on this year’s Filipino Fiesta (May 11), which he started 21 years ago.

In fact, he’s so dedicated to the Filipino community that he recently donated $150,000 to the Filipino Community Center in support of the fiesta and parade for the next 10 years.

“This is the pride and joy of the Filipinos,” Flores explains. “I organized and raised the money for the first 10 years; today, it is run by the Filipino Community Center. I decided to give $150,000 so the fiesta will be able to operate for the next 10 years.”

And this year is especially monumental for Flores, as he celebrates the 50-year anniversary of his arrival in Hawaii.

“It has been a long journey,” he says. “When we arrived … my parents were very poor and had no skills yet. All the kids graduated from the university and are successful in their endeavors.

“I am also celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary in May with my wife.”