It’s safe to say Maui was ready for Zippy’s. Several days after the Oahu-based chain cut the ribbon on its Kahului location, the parking lot was jammed and the wait for a table was half an hour. Just getting takeout required queuing up in a rather imposing line that snaked all the way to the entrance.
Anyone familiar with this popular island eatery knows you don’t come to Zippy’s for the ambiance but rather for fast, hearty, economically friendly fare at any hour of the day or night. But the new branch has a nice look and feel, with high ceilings, lots of natural light and rows of comfortable-looking booths.
We didn’t have much time to enjoy any of that, however, as we bellied up to the takeout counter along with dozens of fellow diners. After a not exactly zippy—but respectable given the packed house—wait, we exited with several bags stuffed with lunchtime grinds.
The best advice one can offer about a trip to Zippy’s (advice I was thankfully given prior to my maiden voyage) is to come hungry. The portions are ample and the food sticks to your ribs. The teri burger came loaded with grilled onions and delicious slabs of teriyaki-soaked beef. Add in a generous side of mac salad and I barely had room for one of the dozen apple and berry turnovers my co-worker brought back from the sweets-laden dessert case. I did say barely, because somehow I found a smidgen of space and scarfed one down. Flaky, buttery, sugary, gooey goodness about sums it up.
The takeout menu is of course packed with options beyond the burger, with the most popular probably being the plate lunch special, featuring fried chicken, beef, katsu etc. augmented by a scoop of rice or fries and mac or tossed salad. The mini is big, the regular is bigger.
The Chinese chicken salad, topped with pork and imitation crab in addition to the titular meat, got a big thumbs-up for its crisp leafy lettuce and fine mix of flavors. And for those looking to go totally veggie centric there are a number of options, including a tofu plate, vegetarian chili and the veggie burger (which, our resident vegan noted, does contain eggs).
Odds are things’ll calm down a bit as Maui gets used to its shiny new Zippy’s. In another week or two you’ll probably even be able to get a table without a wait. The thing that assuredly won’t change is the food—and for people who heed the sage advice outlined a few paragraphs back and arrive with tummies a rumblin’, that’s decidedly good news. MTW