Hawaiian favorite Zippy’s finally arrives in Las Vegas

Assorted Zippy’s specialties
Zippy’s Restaurant / Courtesy

Las Vegans are very aware of Hawaiian food, but until October of 2023, uninitiated locals may have only ever sampled Zippy’s famous chili and not the myriad other offerings from the well-known Honolulu-based eatery.

Founded in 1966, Zippy’s opened its first mainland store in southwest Las Vegas in the fall. Its signature dish, the slightly sweet, meaty chili, has been available for years locally in frozen form at some Asian markets, poke spots and Walgreens stores.

“For me, the chili is my favorite item on the menu, something I grew up with, the ultimate comfort food,” says Zippy’s COO Jay Kaneshiro. “I like the original chili with beans, but some prefer no beans and the vegetarian version is also very tasty. It reminds me of get-togethers, potlucks or picnics, and it’s just very soothing to my soul.”

Zippy’s food represents exactly that to plenty of Hawaiians, on the islands and here in Vegas. There are 22 locations on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, and this expansion has been in the works for years, even if it was delayed a bit by the pandemic, Kaneshiro explains. “There are a lot of ties between Las Vegas and Hawaii so it just made sense that the first location outside Hawaii had to be in Vegas.”

The sleek store on Badura Avenue near the Beltway opened up with a limited menu, but more items are being introduced all the time, bringing the Vegas restaurant on par with other locations; Zippy’s is a combination of fast-casual take-out, a full-service dine-in restaurant and a retail bakery.

Kaneshiro says the dishes most beloved in Hawaii are also popular here. It starts with the chili, of course—in a bowl with cornbread ($8-$9), with rice ($7-$8), or scattered over French fries with plenty of cheese ($6).

Another island favorite that may not be the focus at local plate lunch eateries, saimin ($7) offers chewy, ramen-esque noodles in a simple, savory broth with fish cake and char siu pork. Combination plates offer seemingly infinite options of crispy fried chicken katsu, hamburger steak, Korean-style fried chicken, teriyaki beef, breaded hoki fish and more, and Zippy’s also brings breakfast to the table. The Meat Lover’s plate ($14) starts your day with eggs, bacon, Portuguese sausage, Spam, corned beef hash and rice; if you come to eat early, come hungry.

Sweets run the gamut from apple pie and Chantilly cake to fresh doughnuts and the delightful chocolate haupia cake ($21), and you’re gonna want to take one of those home.

Although Zippy’s is taking a slow and steady approach to expansion, other Vegas Valley locations seem like a natural progression.

“This location has been very popular with locals already, and we definitely appreciate everyone introducing Zippy’s to their friends and family,” Kaneshiro says. “We just want everyone to feel invited to experience everything we have to offer.”

ZIPPY’S 7095 Badura Ave., 702-997-8117, zippys.com. Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-midnight; Friday & Saturday, 24 hours.

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Tags: Dining, Food
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Brock Radke

Brock Radke is an award-winning writer and columnist who currently occupies the role of managing editor at Las Vegas Weekly ...

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