Silence is golden, or so goes the saying, but mum’s not the applicable response here.

So, honesty is the best policy here.

I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to Zippy’s in my lifetime; it’s been a convenience, for a quick meal, a gathering place to meet the gang. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of the Senior Card, from start to finish, and I’ve heard the complaints about how prices have gone up, up, up, and portions smaller, smaller, well I hear you.

But when I visited Zippy’s Kahala for dinner Wednesday night, I spotted Hawaiian Stew as a daily special, which I hadn’t ordered for about year.

So, I placed my order, and went full throttle to make it a complete meal (for more than $10 now) but you get a choice of soup or salad, coffee, tea or soft drink, and dessert – a slice of apple pie to “go.”

When my soup arrived, I stirred it ‘round and ‘round, and ‘round and ‘round again, because something was not right. In the same size bowl Zippy’s uses for a small saimin or won ton min order, there was a lot of cabbage, celery, potatoes, and carrots but an absence of meat. I stirred some more, and voila, there was one measly morsel of meat, baby-sized  and drowning amid the veggies, if I may say so, and I told my wife about the situation. Where’s the beef?!

wwZippy’s Hawaiian Stew; this website photo shows beef.

She knew I wasn’t going to be silent, so I flagged my waitress (a nice soul, who used to work at the now shuttered Koko Marina branch, who’s retiring this year after 48 years of waiting tables) to report the injustice.

She, too, couldn’t believe me – yes, one is a lonely number – and without hesitation, uttered “I’ll bring you more meat.”

She returned, a few minutes later, with a small bowl of meat containing perhaps a half-dozen portion of beef that was ample. But in years past, an order of Hawaiian Stew  would have included five or six hefty chunks of beef. Disclosure: the stew depicted here is from the Zippy’s website, which lists the price as $14.95, and shows four of five beef pieces, each one larger than the portion in my order.

This faux pas should not be a reason to downsize ingredients as Zippy’s continues to let prices soar; everything costs. But being manini with meat is a mistake, just as it would be lamentable if a bowl of won tun min only had a single won tun swimming with a sea of saimin noodles.

If the restaurant can’t bear the cost of beef, relabel it as Vegetable Soup. I’m sure it was an honest error, but the kitchen needs to eyeball what it is serving and stir the soup and make certain all ingredients are there.

I’m not ashamed about bringing up this issue, and perhaps I did it for some of you who have been in a parallel situation and too embarrassed to flag. It’s the principle that matters.

And our waitress earned a 25-pct. tip.


  1. Stew looks so watery— more like vegetable soup. Thanks for the heads up. Another reason to avoid Zippys.

  2. The broth isn’t the same one I remember –maybe because in the past, there were genuine beef pieces in the stew. Clearly, a menu item that is up for scrutiny.

  3. Commenting on Zippy’s in general. Sorry to say prices are noticeably higher with portions being reduced. I had an opportunity to stop at a WENDY’S for a small bowl of chili. $3.99 and came with crackers! Delicious! Zippy’s small chili with rice $6.99….do the math. It’s all about value!

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