As a fast food connoisseur, I appreciate the nuances of the chemically processed garbage I consume. I mean sure, fast food lacks any nutritional value, it takes valuable years off your life, it’s basically the cause of America’s obesity epidemic, and most chains are really stingy on the extra sauces, but there is not a single person I’ve met that can’t resist a good ol’ fashioned, colon clogging McDonald’s breakfast or some curly fries from Arby’s/Jack-in-the-box. It’s immediate satisfaction for the tired and lazy, it’s the food you eat when your hungover or when life has given you such a savage beating that you can’t muster the strength to care about your health. These “restaurants” are run by uncaring corporations that profit off of our collective exhaustion, indulging our worst impulses and giving us type-2 diabetes, but I’ll be damned if they don’t make that journey fucking delicious.
It needs to be said that all fast food is not created equal. For instance, if you tell me KFC is better than Popeyes you better be ready to catch a beating because no amount of explaining can accurately convey how wrong you are. I’m weirdly passionate about terrible food, and with Oahu on the cusp of a fast food awakening, I decided to list my most anticipate restaurants coming to the island. Too long we’ve had to deal with a lack of choices, settling for only the basic necessities without enjoying the luxury options. Five Guys in Mililani opened the floodgates in 2016, Dunkin Donuts showed the world we were ready in 2017, and now, 2019 is poised to be the year where the state of Hawaii finally catches up with the modern world in the most important measure of American wealth and excess: fast food chain restaurant choices.
Projected Opening: TBD
We finally get to experience the best biscuits in the game and the bitter disappointment of trying to buy them on Sundays. Although there’s no timetable for Chic-fil-a to open – the official website says “soon” and every local news outlet copy/pastes what they said – the business is registered, and it’s owned by a local franchise owner so you know it’s on the way. Get ready for gallons of sweet tea, eat chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, chicken etc. etc. you get the point. I’ve been subsisting on Popeyes for the past 3 years, which is one of the best restaurants in America, but their biscuits are like eating pancake mix. I feel like I’m going to choke and die on my couch every time I eat one alone (which is every time).
The owner hates gay people but who cares when the biscuits are this delicious? Apple basically enslaves Chinese people to make their products but I guarantee you’re reading this on an iPhone (if you’re on an Android, I’m sorry and also you’re poor). My point is, there is no ethical dilemma if the end result is something this good. It’s the sausage principle: if you like something don’t ask how it’s made.
Let’s just all pray to God this isn’t in Mililani. Not even Chic-fil-a could get me to drive to Mililani.
Projected Opening: 12/11/2018
After living in Hawaii for 4 years, I’ve learned to take what I can get when it comes to restaurants. It’s the worst state to open a business due to the cost and insane amounts of regulation. Not to mention if you’re coming from out of state you have to bribe and basically force their your way in. I had written “Raising Cane’s in Hawaii” off as a crazy pipe dream, but lo and behold my countless prayers have been answered.
The perfect golden brown tenders, the Canes’ sauce, the Texas toast sweet JESUS the Texas toast, this is the place that everybody should be overly excited for. Their menu is simple, they cook everything perfectly, and they pay your employees enough money to smile, it’s the formula In-n-Out invented and Canes’ has copied to equally delicious results. I can now stop using my back channels to try and score an industrial barrel of Canes’ sauce.
Projected Opening: Probably never
My penis was erect for a month when I read this article in Star Advertiser and this one in some random blog. Chipotle would silence most of my bitching when it comes to fast food on this island. It’s a staple in any fast food landscape, and the closest thing I would have gotten to decent Mexican food in Hawaii. And if you’re saying “OMG is basically the same thing!” You’re wrong, so, so very wrong. It’s a cheap imitation, and the chemicals/seasoning they have in Chipotle rice and meat is on another level of deliciousness. I will say I’m much healthier without eating a 10,000 calorie burrito 1-2 times per week but that’s not the life I’m trying to live. I’m here for a good time, not a long time, and Chipotle’s “normal portions” gives me hope that Paunch Burger may be a real thing one day.
“Well, it’s roughly the size of a two-year old child, if the child were liquefied.”
The word around town these days is that Chipotle has abandoned us out here, hung us out to dry while they bathe in their guacamole pools on the mainland. Maybe if we all start calling their lack of Hawaii locations racist they’ll show up. It’s worth a shot.
Just doing my part
Projected Opening: End of 2018
Local hero, Hawaii native, and former NFL Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Ma’ake Kemoeatu is dragging Hawaii into the fast food modern era, kicking and screaming, by opening up a chain of Sonic Drive-Ins. Not 1, not 2, but 8 locations across Oahu. I’m not certain Ma’ake is the second coming of Jesus but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. He not only donated a kidney to his brother and saved his life, but he has now blessed this island with a restaurant tailor-made to potheads terrified of face-to-face human interaction. If I’m being honest Sonic food isn’t that great, but their plethora of options makes it like a drunk version of cheesecake factory after 2 AM. I’m praying to God that they stay open late here instead of closing at 10 PM like literally everything else in this god damn town. Who am I kidding, of course they will, that’s the only reason people go.
I’m excited to revive my daily Sonic Happy Hour (or Pau Hana) where I get a strawberry coke for half price, sit in my car, and contemplate where everything went wrong.
Projected Opening: Not a chance in hell
There’s a reason why every single In-n-Out in southern California, regardless of the time of day, has a line around the block. It’s the best burger place in America and, at least in my mind, that’s not up for debate. The only problem is, their policy of freshness and quality means that opening a location in Hawaii would make them compromise everything they believe in. That isn’t out of the question, alcohol has made me compromise everything I believe in on several occasions. But barring a major corporate takeover or act of desperation they will never come here, And that’s a bigger tragedy than Pearl Harbor.
We lost a lot of good men out there. To heart disease.
While Hawaii may still lag behind in a lot of areas, they are modernizing what matters most: processed food. Get ready to hate yourself for eating too much in 2019, it’s going to be a fat year.