SPILL THE BEANS . . . All right, I'll admit I'm a Zippy's virgin. I'm embarrassed about being so naive on what is pegged as "Hawaii's favorite restaurant." After all, it's been around for 42 years, even before the first McDonald's opened in Hawaii, and now there are 27 outlets. Maui's version is set to open in Kahului Aug. 18.
Like others, I have tried the chili and rice that Zippy's makes in large vats (110 tons a month) and sells to fundraising groups, but THAT doesn't count. I've even bought the frozen vegetarian chili at Longs. So when it gets right down to it, I'm still a 51-year-old Zippy's virgin.
So I told co-worker Tobi Uehara about my innocence in this matter and she clued me in to Zippy's allure.
Brothers Josh (left) and Jim Richardson flank Chef Chad Metcalf at their 808 Deli near Fred’s Cantina and Moose McGillycuddy’s in Kihei.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"They're famous for their chili, but I love the mahi burgers," says Tobi, an enthusiastic fan. "My kids love the fried chicken. The curry stew is so ono, too. The Zip Pacs are like mini bentos and are good if you are going to the beach."
Tobi also fondly gushes about Napples, apple turnovers by partner Napolean Bakery, and that some Zippy's outlets offer lots of healthful options such as plates from Dr. Shintani's famous Hawaiian Diet and freshly rolled sushi.
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT . . . Now, here's something that should be fun for the whole family.
Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu will set a spectacular outdoor stage (under the stars, to boot), for five performances of "West Side Story," beginning tonight and continuing through Aug. 3.
The foodie part is, you may enjoy some fun cuisine and drinks before the show and during intermission. Coffees of Hawaii will team with Maui Tropical Plantation to sell coffee drinks along with pupu platters such as cheese and fruit, pizza, New-York-style hot dogs, and more.
Like many readers of Side Orders, Bob Lloyd e-mailed in, wanting to know what the status of the much-touted Bin 69 at Wailea Town Center is. Well, word has it that all of the kitchen equipment has finally arrived and if everything now goes as planned, there will be a late August or early September opening in the Wailea Town Center . . . Speaking of Wailea, Mike Meyers, aka the "Love Guru,"?spotted dining in Wailea recently. Oprah was also seen dining around the island and buying bicycles this week.
The new Ramen Ya is certainly drawing in the noodle crowds at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center near Macy's. Haven't been able to get a seat yet, but the menu ranges from chuka udon to curry ramen to seafood crispy noodle dishes . . . Alexander's Famous Fish Co. is also getting raves upstairs in the food court. That's because original franchiser Kennan Randolph has taken over and the quality is consistent and the fish hot, crispy and crunchy.
The humble 808 Deli opened near Fred's and Moose McGillycuddy's in Kihei in February and it has catapulted to the top of the charts for its tasty sandwiches and gelatos.
The owners are brothers Josh and Jim Richardson. From Montana originally, they both worked at Ferraro's at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, Jim as a chef and Josh as the restaurant manager.
"We do really good Italian-style paninis. Our chicken pesto is really popular with its toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and provolone," says Josh. After trying it, I'll have to agree it was tasty, indeed and it was packed with a chicken breast.
"We also do a little breakfast service in the morning with bagels and lox, yogurt parfaits, breakfast paninis and house-blend coffee," adds Josh.
Since 808 Deli is located right across the street from Kamehemeha II?Beach, the duo also promote the Beach Box.
"Basically we loan you a free Hawaiian print cooler on the honor system and it's got a sandwich, chips, cookie, and juice or soda for $10," says Josh.
* Contact Dining Editor Carla Tracy at email@example.com or 242-6342.