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BLOG: Is Mediocre Chili Worth a One Hour Wait?

August 6, 2013, 3:25 PM HST (Updated August 6, 2013, 8:35 PM)
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Like moths to a gravy-soaked candle, Big Islanders have swarmed en-masse to experience the opening of a certain Oahu-based business chain we dare not name for fear of reprisals (rhymes with “hippies,” although you’re more likely to find “teetas” there).

Because we only believe in serious investigative journalism, your crack Big Island Now news team decided to brave the sweat and stink-eyes of the hundreds of residents waiting to get into this fabled establishment to find the answer to a pressing question:

“Is mediocre chili worth a one hour wait?”

As soon as we took our place in line (approximately number 234, by our count), it became clear that the arrival of this long-standing restaurant has really brought Hawaii’s melting pot of residents together.

The snippets of conversation we caught as we inched ever-closer to nirvana were as varied as the behemoth restaurant’s menu. While a pair of gentlemen in front of us discussed their golf game, a woman nearby exclaimed to what we think was another woman “I sweah wen I get home I going stab dat F***er!”

Suits, slippers, heels, tattoos, piercings, and about $50,000 worth of Hawaiian bracelets slowly jingled their way forward. In an impressive showing of will, and with the help of their cell phones, almost none of those present dropped out of the race.

Once reaching the finish line, we made our selections, and in pleasantly short order were served up overcooked omelets drenched in the now-famous stuff this place has come to be known for.

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Admittedly, we had already experienced the somewhat bland, soupy chili (and its various “combos” spawned thereafter) at various locations around Honolulu in the past. If nothing else, the owners have hit the bullseye on consistency.

But military-grade fare aside, people here were genuinely having fun. Kids were laughing, elders were chatting, and hot-damn if those cleverly named turnovers weren’t popular (to the point of there being a per-person limit!)

If nothing else, the arrival of this joint, and the subsequent mania surrounding it should prove to business owners far and wide that at least in East Hawaii, you can still make a serious splash on arrival. If this place sees long-term success, we have no doubt many others like it will follow.

The Big Island Now news team takes investigative journalism seriously. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

The Big Island Now news team takes investigative journalism seriously. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

But back to the question we posed at the beginning. Was it worth the wait?

Despite not being big fans of the food (mind you, many others LOVE the stuff), we’ll always remember being there. The um, wait, as it turns out, was the best part of the experience.

Besides, where else in the world would generic burgers generate more excitement than a Beyonce concert?

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