The Hawaiian language is one of two official languages in the Pacific island state (English is the other) and there are an estimated 18,000 residents who still speak in this melodic assortment of eight consonants and five vowels. The language app Duolingo has added Hawaiian to its list of language courses that you can start (and, like most attempts to learn new languages, forget about after six or seven days), but it’s presumably a way to learn something other than “aloha.”
The word hoopailua, for example, can be used as a noun (“a disgusting sight”) and a verb (“to nauseate; to dislike greatly”) and both meanings are appropriate if you’ve seen the recent Snapchat video that was filmed in the kitchen of a Honolulu burger joint. Last week, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers temporarily closed its Mapunapuna location after one of its teen employees filmed himself cooking a rat on the restaurant’s grill.
The caption on the video read “I think it’s time to quit Teddy’s,” but management made that decision for him; both employees in the clip have been fired. The restaurant was also closed for several days so that it could be thoroughly cleaned, and so that grill and those cooking utensils could be replaced.
“We are horrified that a former teenage employee would conduct themselves in that way and make such a video of which we are investigating its authenticity,” Teddy’s President Richard Stula told Hawaii News Now. (The restaurant is also considering taking legal action against the teenagers. Good luck explaining that one to your parents, bro.)
Earlier this year, the Dixie Pig BBQ in Oakland Park, Florida was temporarily closed after a video showed one of its cooks killing a rat with a hatchet in the restaurant’s kitchen. In another video, a different, still-living rat could be seen on wire shelving in the kitchen. A former employee called the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation to complain about the working conditions and, following an inspection, the Dixie Pig was ordered to close its doors and clean its kitchen. “I'm not putting rat turds all over food," the restaurant’s owner, Sherrie Gentry, complained to Local 10 News. "I'm not putting anything on people's food."
Back in Honolulu, Stula said that a team from the Teddy’s corporate office would be sent in to inspect the restaurant before it would be allowed to re-open. The state Health Department said that it would not be conducting its own investigation, but it “appreciates the remedial and proactive efforts” that Teddy’s management took to close the restaurant and de-rat the grill.
MUNCHIES has reached out to Teddy’s for comment and to learn the results of its internal investigation, but has not yet received a response. Hoopailua, indeed.