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Cover Story

Sinfully Delicious Eats Bring Big Wins

By Alana Folen Photos By Anthony Consillio
January 12, 2014

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There are few things kamaaina love more than Zippy’s Restaurants and Las Vegas, and now you can have the best of both worlds as Hawaii’s favorite restaurant presents its annual Las Vegas Giveaway now through Feb. 16.

An iconic landmark in the Islands, Zippy’s Restaurants began serving patrons in 1966, when founders Charlie and Francis Higa opened the first establishment in McCully. Fast-forward to the present and there are more than 20 Zippy’s locations statewide that cater to both locals and visitors alike.

Renowned for its diverse menu, and ongoing specials and promotions, in 2008, Zippy’s kicked off its Las Vegas Giveaway promotion, hitting the jackpot big time.

“With this promotion we’ve given away about 100 trips to Vegas so far,” says Zippy’s Restaurants marketing manager Jeanine Mamiya-Kalahiki. “In the past, we experimented with cruise and ski trip promotions, but the most popular and requested (promotion) has been trips to Vegas. Our customers love Vegas!

“Throughout the years, we have established a great partnership with Vacations Hawaii, as they are a very reputable, local company. Their premium class of service also includes upgraded meals catered by Zippy’s,” she adds.

With any Zippy’s Restaurants purchase, you will receive an entry blank (one entry per person, per visit) for your chance to win one of 25 grand-prize trips for two to Sin City. Take a gamble, because who knows? The odds just may be in your favor, and perhaps you’ll soon find yourself on board Vacations Hawaii’s new wide body 767 aircraft en route to Hawaii’s “ninth island.” In addition to flying premium class, the entire package includes airport transfers and a four-night stay at California Hotel, along with three meals per day.

And while this giveaway is enticing, the underlying foundation of Zippy’s success is its ability to build a strong relationship with its customers, as well as the continuity of its products — many of which are true representations of Hawaii. The array of local favorites on the menu include Zippy’s famous chili, Zip Pac, fried chicken and saimin, to name a few. Zippy’s Restaurants is in it for the long haul.

“We have our staples on the menu, but there are always new menu items that are ongoing or dishes that we are revising,” explains Mamiya-Kalahiki, noting that customers should also be on the lookout for current specials when it’s time to feed their grumbling stomachs.

Currently, Zippy’s is showcasing its Spaghetti and Chicken Mixed Plate (available 24 hours daily) through the end of the month. Priced at $6.59 at the fast-food counter and $7.59 in the restaurant, this combination features a bed of spaghetti topped with your choice of meat sauce or chili and a piece of good old-fashioned fried chicken. Garlic bread and macaroni salad are served on the side.

“Zippy’s spaghetti and chicken are our two signature items featured on one plate; that’s why this special is so popular,” Mamiya-Kalahiki confirms. “Most customers opt for our meat sauce, which has been on the menu since the very beginning, and the recipe continues to remain the same.”

Once again, Zippy’s also is dishing up its innovative version of oxtail soup. Enter Oxtail Style Turkey Neck Soup ($5.99 fast-food counter/$6.49 restaurant) available through the end of the month, while supplies last. Warm up to cuts of turkey neck simmered in a flavorful broth accented with choi sum and hints of Chinese parsley (ginger is served upon request). Your choice of white or brown rice completes the meal. Mamiya-Kalahiki says this is an ideal choice for oxtail soup fanatics, as the taste and texture are similar to the original version of oxtail soup.

Chinatown Style Steamed Opakapaka ($16.95 restaurant only) is another local-style creation in which Zippy’s takes pride. The steamed opakapaka is served on a bed of choi sum and splashed with sizzling soybean oil, and served with broccoli and a choice of starch.

Zippy’s also makes supporting local entities and businesses a priority. Take, for example, Zippy’s Golden Chicken Orange Salad ($9.95 restaurant only) and Mandarin Orange Salad ($6.95 restaurant only), which both feature locally sourced ‘Nalo greens. Golden Chicken Orange Salad is beautified with sliced golden, crispy chicken, Mandarin orange wedges, red onions, bacon bits and croutons, and doused with a sweet vinaigrette dressing. Mandarin Orange Salad makes its return this year, as clientele have taken a liking to the Mandarin orange wedges, sliced almonds and dried cranberries that accentuate the dish, which also is topped off with a refreshingly sweet vinaigrette dressing.

“We are always on the lookout for new items, such as our salads and dessert waffles,” says Mamiya-Kalahiki.

The dessert waffle she refers to is Orange Crunch Waffle ($6.95 restaurant only). This freshly made Belgian waffle topped with Mandarin orange wedges and scrumptious Melting Moments cookie crumbles, a mound of whipped cream and, of course, a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream makes for a tantalizing delight.

Zippy’s clientele also may have noticed that many establishments have undergone renovations to continuously improve the dining experience. This new year, plans are in the works to continue renovations on more Oahu locations.

So, make your next stop Zippy’s — indulge in good eats, and if Lady Luck is on your side, you’ll be gallivanting in Las Vegas before you know it.

Zippy’s Restaurants

Twenty-five locations, including restaurants on Oahu, in Kahului, Maui and in Hilo, Hawaii.
973-0880 (main office)
Most locations open 24 hours
Zippys.com
Note: Prices may vary by location