Why Zippy’s Is Hawaii’s Favorite Fast Food Restaurant — Cult Following
81 Comments


– [Whitney] When you
think of food from Hawai’i, you probably think about
poke, kalua pig, and poi. And while those may be the
island’s most famous dishes, they definitely don’t
tell the whole story. To really eat like a local,
you’ve got to check out an iconic restaurant chain called Zippy’s. – It’s a diner with a twist. – I love Zippy’s. (laughs) – [Whitney] At first
glance, Zippy’s may seem like just another
average chain restaurant. So why is Hawaii so
hopelessly devoted to it? – It’s one of the most regional
chains I’ve ever been to. – I’m at Zippy’s you guys.
(employees cheering) – [Man] Sara’s favorite. – Fire! – [Whitney] The menu is massive, offering diner staples
like burgers and breakfast alongside the island comfort
food Hawai’i is known for. – In the 1800s, sugar cane plantations needed workers and found
them all over the world. So those workers came to Hawai’i, and they melded their food together, they created a local cuisine. You see it in saimin, which is our version of Japanese ramen, or oxtail soup, which has roots in Chinese culture, Puerto Rican culture, and
Filipino culture, all in one. Or Portuguese sausage, which
is sausage from Portugal. – Food in Hawai’i is really complex, and I had no idea that one chain could meaningfully try
to capture a lot of that. – I was wondering if I can
go Zippy’s with the boys. I promise I bring you chili! – [Woman] Okay, shoots. – Okay, I love you. Bruddah, we go!
– Yeah hoo! – [Whitney] Zippy’s is best
known for its famous chili, and the recipe is a well-guarded secret. The chain serves over 100 tons of the meaty goodness every month. While the chili is
traditionally served over rice, you can also get it over
a pile of spaghetti, or a loco moco style, with a
burger patty and a fried egg. – To me it tastes a little
bit creamier than other chili, a little bit thicker; it’s
almost like a sauce! (laughs) The Hawai’i version of a
bolognese or something. – Even if you’re in Texas, it
doesn’t taste like Zippy’s. – Well, so I lived in
Texas for five years. I absorbed some chili ideology that I think is against the Zippy’s chili. I liked it; it wasn’t like my favorite. – The chili might not be for everybody, but it is definitely
our chili from Hawai’i. – [Whitney] The family-owned restaurant was established in 1966, and now has 22 locations across the islands, most of which are open 24 hours a day. – People who visit Hawai’i,
they don’t necessarily think of going to Zippy’s first, but I would encourage them to go because they’ll see a side of Hawai’i that’s not in the tourist
board advertisements. – You will see a Zippy’s everywhere. It will be in neon and it
will beckon you to come, and it’s still a local secret in Hawai’i. – You know, you’ll just
see the real Hawai’i there.

81 thoughts on “Why Zippy’s Is Hawaii’s Favorite Fast Food Restaurant — Cult Following

  1. Very cool. A former coworker, born and raised in Hawaii, decided to relocate back to Honolulu after 10 years on the mainland. She spoke of all the things she looked forward to doing and high on her list was heading to Zippy's. 😂 I've been to Hawaii twice and never knew how popular this chain was with locals. Love this series. 👍

  2. Darn. I really wish I had visited a Zippy's when I was there last week. Oh well, something to look forward to on the next trip.

  3. the majority of Zippys are on Oahu, with one in Kahului on Maui island and the other in Hilo on the island of Hawaii. and Yes, there is one coming to Las Vegas (Hawaii's 9th Island…LOL) believe later this year for all those ex-patriats…

  4. If you're a local and can't decide on a place to go, Zippy's is the easy default because there's always something you like. My personal favorite is the Zip Pac. I'm craving it right now 🤤

  5. Pureed Van Camps Pork and Beans is the "secret" that gives Zippy's chili that creamy texture. LOL, there are no true secrets on an Island.

  6. Zip Pac, Surf Pac, mini fried chicken with fries, chili, burrito with chili, won ton min, all of it is just ono. The one that people don't talk about is the banana split. The workers are supposed to get every strand off the banana, with the pineapple topping OMG. Don't forget the apple napple, I haven't had a better turnover.

  7. Zippy’s is one of the worst fast food chains ever and would never survive on the mainland. Even in terms of local food it pales in comparison to so many places. Hawai’i is very tolerant of the status quo and constantly favors that over progression.

  8. Yay! Another place for the tourists to overrun!! lol Nothing draws them in like "local secret" or "the real Hawaii".

  9. How can I listen to a "food reviewer" when they cant even decide what they are… looking at that eater.com correspondent 0:28

    On top of that, how can you listen to someone who dresses like that as well.. just No all around

  10. You guys didn't even talk about how Zippy's got it's name. But let's get for real, Zippy's is pretty average considering how expensive they are. The only thing I really liked from there was the Zip-min, and the chili from back in the day, before they changed the recipe. Back when still had Arakawa's, and Gem's in Waipahu. I don't even know if Zippy's in Waipahu is still open, but that was the closest one to Ewa Beach.

  11. Born and raised in Hawaii, but been living in Japan on and off over the last two decades… but the first meal I have when I get off the plane is a chili and fried chicken mini-plate (well, now mini-plate for health reasons) from Zippy's… it just brings me back to my hanabuttah days and says "I'm home."

  12. It said across the islands😂😂😂…it’s only on 3 islands. Oahu, Maui and The Big Island 😂😂😂. Missing 5 other islands

  13. Zippys is good but I always feel like it's WAY over hyped. It's sort of like a Denny's and thus hard to get excited about. Yes, there chili is good…but not really great. Good place for a relatively cheap meal that is good, but it's really just diner food. Still, we enjoy it 🙂

  14. its not. zippys is for low income earners or the occasional late night meal when nowhere else is open. im surprised you found this many locals to vouch for the food there.

  15. Taiwanese shaved ice is amazing. The velvety smooth ice texture is something shaved ice purveyors of other countries often try to emulate but fail. In Taipei, there is chain called "Ice Monster" that has been pleasing the taste buds of shaved ice lovers since 2012. This explains my joy when I visited the first outpost of Ice Monster in the States, located in the touristy area of Honolulu (Waikiki). The bubble milk tea shaved ice and coffee shaved ice were, as expected, to die for. Come relive this experience with me
    Link: https://youtu.be/6hopsPm9N8o

  16. Manapua trucks in Hawai'i is also as local Hawaiian as Zippy's. They're food trucks that has more culture than any other food truck in the states for a fraction of the cost.

  17. I was kinda hoping for a few more seconds of slow-mo food shots while you list more things off the menu.

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