Zippy's Here Today, Gone To Maui


Zippy’s Spaghetti Chicken Mixed Plate, $5.50 “Win a Trip to Vegas!” special

Actually not today nor tomorrow, but this past Monday was Zippy’s grand opening of their first neighbor island location in Kahului, Maui. The question many folks are probably asking is, what took so long? I can’t answer that, but speculation would have it that logistics and quality control had lots to do with it.

Whatever your opinion of them, there’s no denying Zippy’s takes quality, service and consistency very seriously in their business. Order your “regular” dish at Hawaii Kai, and then another one in Kaneohe a week, month or year later, and it’s almost guaranteed it will be identical every single time. With such standards being their reputation here on Oahu, it’s no doubt upper management and their planning committee took apart every single detail before finally jumping on the canoe heading to Maui.

That spaghetti chicken mixed plate shown above is a perfect example of their quality control and consistency. Look at this one, then look at the one they have pictured for their Vegas Trip promotion on their website. Almost identical! From how toasted the french bread is, to how golden-brown the fried chicken is, right down to the location of each item on the plate. This is just part of what makes Zippy’s so successful today.

Not surprisingly, I hear the menu prices across the board at the new Maui location are higher than Oahu. For example, A Zip Pac here on Oahu is currently $7.85 (ouch), while on Maui it’s $8.85 (OUCH!).

According to this news article, their impact on Maui’s existing businesses stirs sentiment of both pros and cons. Cravings Bakery is benefiting by picking up the contract to produce select cakes and pies for Zippy’s in-house Napoleon’s Bakery. While the owner of Tasty Crust over in Wailuku, which is a similar local diner style eatery, is taking a wait-and-see, yet concerned outlook.

The owner of Kujo’s really had the right attitude by saying his saimin and Hamburger Steak was mo’ bettah. If the “small guys” can find their niche and offer signature dishes that you can’t get anywhere else, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Especially if they can be competitively-priced; an issue Zippy’s sometimes disregards.

While I haven’t personally walked into the Kahului location yet, another virtue Zippy’s offers is a clean, cozy, comfortable establishment. I haven’t been in one location on Oahu where I thought otherwise. I’m sure this NEW Maui restaurant is spartan and well-designed as well – if not to an even higher standard.

Another thing Zippy’s has mastered with experience is responding to local tastes. For example, feast your eyes on this Teriyaki Pork (not beef) Sandwich Combo Plate….


Zippy’s Teriyaki Pork Sandwich Combo Plate (includes fries and drink), $7.75

Brilliant! Looks ono to me! Actually, this was Diner E’s plate, to which he gave it a solid 3-SPAM Musubi rating (minus 1 point for price). That Spaghetti Chicken Combo Plate was Diner A’s plate, to which he gave it a solid 3-SPAM Musubi, with kudos to exceptional value. While none of these are going to win points from the doctor, it does wins points from the opu!

If any of you Maui folks have been to the new Kahului Zippy’s, let us know what you think! Also, what other Oahu or neighbor island establishment do you have on your expansion wish list? Teddy’s Bigger Burgers is on their way, with a new location opening up in Kapolei. I bet they’d do really well on Maui.

While on the subject of Maui eateries, I’m itching to get back to Alexander’s Fish ‘N Chips in Kihei. I understand they’re under new ownership, so wondering if they’re still as good as I remember them to be. Great batter.


images courtesy of Google Earth & Zippys.com

OK, now that Oahu has given Maui a Zippy’s Restaurant, it’s time for Maui to reciprocate and give Oahu a Tasaka Guri Guri shop. PLEASE! ONEGAISHIMASU!

Zippy’s Restaurant
15 Ho’okele St. (and Mokulele Hwy.)
Kahului, Maui

Related Links:
β€’ Zippy’s a boon for some, rival for others on Maui – Honolulu Advertiser
β€’ Zippy’s.com

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20 thoughts on “Zippy's Here Today, Gone To Maui

  1. I don’t know where I heard this story, but the reason why there isn’t a Zippy’s on the Big Island is because the Mr. Higa (I think that’s his name) who started Zippy’s was friends with the guy who started Cafe 100 in Hilo and they made some kind of pact that Zippy’s wouldn’t open on the Big Island. Of course, that was a long time ago, so I don’t know if that will continue to happen.

  2. I heart Zippy’s. πŸ™‚ Until reading this post, it never occurred to me exactly HOW identical that garlic bread is…it’s kind of uncanny… but there you have it. πŸ™‚ And I must say, as a late night hangout, Zippy’s is awesome. I had to kill time late one night once and really, when all the coffee shops are closed and you just want someplace chill to drink coffee and enjoy a pastry or two, Zippy’s is definitely the place to be.

  3. I was told that the reason Zippy’s has not opened on the neighbor islands is they could not get managers to work there. The person who said that is a manager here.

  4. There no Zippy I know of in California but there is and L & L Drive Inn. Not bad been to Zippy in Pearlrigde Mall and it was fine and interesting. I wish they make a Huli Huli chicken sandwich or maybe I miss it last time I was there.

  5. Mmm, I sometime write to Zippy online and I requested a Huli Huli chicken and Huli Huli Fish Taco with Mango salsa. Just to see if one day they might be interested. They like suggestions from customers. Something different from a sandwich.

  6. There used to be a Zippy’s on Kauai a looooong time ago! I think they closed after one of the hurricanes? They never went back!

  7. Even though I think Zippy’s is overpriced nowadays, there’s no beating their restaurants for convenience, cleanliness and flavor. We even ate there last Christmas. My family has its holiday dinner on Christmas Eve and then we had some early dinner noodles at my parents’ place on Christmas Day. After checking out the light displays (again) at Honolulu Hale, my husband, kids and I were famished for something simple and “non-holiday-ish” to eat. Lo and behold, we find an open Zippy’s restaurant on Christmas night! That really hit the spot.

    So that’s my silly Zippy’s story. I’ll be curious to find out how they do on Maui.

  8. I like going to Pearlridge Mall one when there shopping due Ala Moana is too upscale now. I do like also Abbry there for their roast beef sandwichs.
    Zippy’s food is not too bad and different from L&L because they got sandwiches and soups which L&L does not. I too use Zippy’s online to make suggestions and who know one day see it on menu. All this writing made me hungry so I now got to head on to Zippys. Aloha!

  9. Sean and Kaliki, wow, I never knew so many folks actually made suggestions to them. That must be where many of their daily specials come from. Zippy’s should hold a recipe contest, with the name of the person who submitted the winning recipe titled on the dish served throughout their restaurant chain (15 minutes of Zippy’s fame!), and a prize of course (such as one of them Vegas trips!).

    I wonder who submitted the Chili Moco suggestion? Whoever that may be are brilliant!

    Jenny, if the Zippy’s Maui stays open 24 hours like many locations here do, it will surely become an instant hit with the younger late-night crowd. Especially when you consider their nightclubs and bars all close at 2am (vs. 4am in Honolulu). Where to go from there? Zippy’s of course!

    Cree, that is very interesting. I thought Maui was their first neighbor island venture. When I get a chance, I’ll ask some family over on Kauai if they remember Zippy’s there.

    Betty, as Sean and Kaliki mentioned, you can make your Huli Huli Chicken sandwich to them online. Sounds ono! Hopefully they’d use the REAL pulehu style Huli Huli chicken, and not that rotisserie gas oven stuff. Gotta’ get ‘da “papa’a” burnt edges and smoked flavah!

    Soos, exactly what I thought was the deal. I figured they’d want management from their current restaurants to work there, since they know what’s going on, and upper-management has trust and confidence in them, vs. hiring newbies who they know nothing about.

    Kasey, glad you took a look at the 2 spaghetti plates and seen how identical they are. I really believe food consistency is one of their main keys to success.

    Marvo, the idea that Mr. Higa is honoring territorial respect to his friend’s business sounds interesting as well. All I can say is, if Zippys’ operated 24 hours in Hilo, probably EVERYONE in the town would be there, as you know how the businesses normally all close very early there. What, like 5pm? lol

    Danny, that Spaghetti Fried Chicken (with Mac’ sal’) plate may make you drool, while it makes me wanna’ run a couple of laps around the park. lol That’s gotta’ be the ultimate fuel for a day out swimming or surfing though. Choke carbs.

  10. Hey Pomai, my grandparents lived in Kapaa, so I’m pretty sure that’s where the Zippy’s was. It was kinda close to their house. Only had the “fast food” side though, no “inside” restaurant. I was young so I don’t remember if was 24 hours or not. Someone told me recently they think it was, then after the hurricanes, it opened as something else, but still 24 hours or something?

    I love Zippy’s, sometimes my friends are like… anywhere but Zippy’s! WHAT?? WHY? Lemme tell ya… when you move away… you miss Zippy’s! hehe… Frozen chili is a great substitute but still not da same!! hehe… So now that I’m back…. Zippy’s baybeee… hee hee….

  11. I remember Zippy’s in Kapa’a back in the early 1980s when I used to commute from O’ahu to Kaua’i back in my active duty Navy days.

    When Kaua’i got smacked by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, it damaged the restaurant beyond repair — and the location was abandoned.

    Here in San Diego, a few Korean markets and Marukai San Diego carries Zippy’s frozen stews and chilis in their reefers.

  12. Had breakfast at the new Maui Zippy’s on 8/24and the hash browns were very good.Hopefully this restaurant willbe a success, since Maui has a tendency to go to a new place but after the initial reaction the customers lose interest and the place folds.Restaurants like “Tasty Crust” have been there for 50 years or so but they have a loyal local followingwith signiture dishes like the chopsteak which is onolicious!

  13. Wow, I’m a little late to the party. For better or worse, Zippy’s was one of my first intros to local food when I moved to the islands. Now, chili without a scoop of rice is like a burger, hold the meat.

    Right after the Maui Zippy’s opened, my wife made the mistake of ordering a turkey sandwich that even Denny’s would have sent back. Otherwise, it’s all been good.

    As for other Oahu chains: we’ve got L&L and Genki Sushi already. I wish Shirokiya would bring us back their mochi and pastries.

    Alexander’s is now owned/run by an experienced Maui restaurant manager who wanted to be his own boss. Still the same basic good stuff, with a few additions to the menu. The Kihei location is always packed.

  14. cmholm, mahalo for the Maui grindz 411! I’d love to hear your thoughts on Sam Sato in Wailuku as well. Carol mentioned also mentioned Tasty Crust, which I hear is another beloved local style diner know for their pancakes.

    As for Alexander’s Fish ‘n Chips, I fell in love with the joint the first time my Maui-born and raised girlfriend took me there. I think the “touristy” feel has something to do with it. But there offering of either Ahi, Mahi or Ono is a plus as well, and their secret tempura batter is killer. Only thing I remember them lacking in was the fries, which were too shoe-string like and greasy. Hopefully the new owner fixed that. I love the oceanside area of Kihei.

  15. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "ownership" - JabberTags

  16. Zippy’s is way better than Denny’s for breakfast ,lunch and dinner. I have been to Zippy’s since their opening on Maui and have never had a complaint. As a result, my family and friends will never go back to Denny’s. It’s worth the drive from Kihei to get great food and Aloha as opposed to getting bad food from Denny’s with a really weird Indian manager and another guy manager with his teeth either missing and in need of some serious attention with a tooth brush who just laugh and walk away from serving crappy food. It goes to show all of us,if they can’t even clean their own teeth, imagine what your eating .

  17. Pingback: A Maui Blog » Blog Archive » Enjoy Zippy’s Chili & Support Friends of the Maui Drug Court!

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