Zippy’s Opens in Las Vegas, Baffles People Not From Hawaii
A new restaurant, Zippy’s, opened Oct. 10, 2023, in Las Vegas after significant delays.
Zippy’s, a longtime fixture in Hawaii, was originally announced in 2018. Then there as a worldwide shitshow. Zippy’s waited it out, as did many of the brand’s fans.
The Zippy’s opening drew hundreds of people, mostly Las Vegas locals, to the restaurant located about 10 minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip. We dropped in the following day to check it out. We grew up in Hawaii, so we sort of couldn’t not.
The lines are still long at Zippy’s, but nothing as crazy as of the restaurant’s debut. Some customers arrived at 5:00 a.m. on opening day. Which raises the question, “What in the hell is wrong with people?”
There’s clearly some serious pent-up demand for decent Hawaiian-style food, all due respect to the other Las Vegas restaurants that attempt it.
If you aren’t from Hawaii, we suspect you won’t get it. It’s a quirky menu, not easily categorized in terms of cuisine.
A manager informed us the restaurant isn’t serving its entire menu at the moment. The limited menu gives employees some breathing room during this initial opening period (they’re calling it “Phase 1”) when demand is unusually high.
See the full menu (sans prices) on the Zippy’s Web site.
Hawaii is a melting pot of a number of cultures, and Hawaiian food reflects those influences, from Japanese to Chinese to Korean. Or, as the uninitiated might describe it, “all ovah da place, bruddah.”
Many of the employees seem to be Hawaiian exports, so anticipate lots of “pidgen,” a language distinct to the islands. The local dialect is like the Zippy’s menu, lots of influences.
The menu features things like oxtail soup (watch your back, The Cal), Korean fried chicken, teriyaki beef, chili and even spaghetti with garlic bread.
Naturally, several dishes feature Spam, a staple in Hawaii.
While the food may be solid, we suspect the reason Zippy’s is packed because there’s a large number of people from Hawaii living in Las Vegas, and there’s a lot of nostalgia associated with the original. The first Zippy’s opened in 1966.
Las Vegas is sometimes called the “Ninth Island.” One of the islands is Kaho’olawe, and it’s really awkward, so we’ll just breeze right by the subject. Let’s just say it’s one of the reasons many in Hawaii resent “haoles” (outsiders, especially people of European ancestry) and why our childhood mainly consisted of being repeatedly punched in the face for no particular reason.
We’d estimate 90 percent of the customers during our visit to Zippy’s were Hawaii transplants.
The interior has a bit of a cafeteria feel, but we like that there’s a counter, perfect for solo dining.
Honestly, we have no idea whether to recommend you make the trip to try Zippy’s. We weren’t waiting half-an-hour to eat, as we are extraordinarily busy and self-important, so we didn’t get to try anything.
Given the amazing dining options in Las Vegas, you’re unlikely to be impressed with the food based purely upon, you know, the food. We did mention several dishes feature Spam, right?
Zippy’s has a bakery, with lots of options, including cakes, pies and the gold standard of Hawaiian desserts, malasadas.
We found the employees at Zippy’s to be very friendly and helpful.
There’s a special line and counter for the bakery and take-out orders.
The Zippy’s parking situation was a mess, but we trust that will pass with time.
You can’t enter the Zippy’s parking lot directly, as cars are diverted around the block and back to the same parking lot, probably a mile drive, serving no purpose whatsoever other than making customers prove their commitment to dining at Zippy’s.
The address for the first Zippy’s outside Hawaii is 7095 Badura Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada 89118. The restaurant sits on the corner of Badura Avenue and Montessouri Street.
We will definitely be back to Zippy’s after the initial crush of business subsides. The folks at Zippy’s hope it never does.