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Pan-Asian Hulkamania

At the beginning of the millennium, I was a waiter at the ultimate pan-Asian restaurant in Times Square. I got to see a shitload of amazing things, but nothing compared to the night that "Hulkamania" took over the restaurant dining room.
Photo by Ed Webster via Flickr

Words by Chris Grosso

At the beginning of the millennium, I was a waiter at the ultimate pan-Asian restaurant in Times Square, NYC. To be truthful, it wasn't half bad. If you were in the area and wanted some decent sushi or a Nobu rip-off type of entrée, this was the spot for you. Working there for over three-and-a-half years, I got to see a shitload of amazing things, from a female clown trying to pay for her sushi with balloon animals, to Axl Rose's first public appearance with his braid extensions.

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However great this all was for the servers to observe, nothing compared to the spectacle that happened when Hulk Hogan decided to stop in for dinner, post autograph session at the WWE flagship store, which was a mere seven blocks south.

Upon entry, the Hulkster was flanked by the "Mouth of the South," Jimmy Hart, a sight to behold on it's own. But the main event—if you will—didn't start until the Hulk headed to the little Hulkster's room.

As the Hulk swaggered past all the Midwesterners eagerly devouring wasabi mashed potatoes and sesame crusted tuna, their heads began to peek up like prairie dogs as Hogan exited the bathroom to head over to his table. To use the man's own words, "the whole dining room had caught Hulkamania." This was not a 100-seater restaurant. This was a dining room that could accommodate over 300 people. Naturally, every last one of them wanted to see the Hulk. As people were calling out his name, he began to go through his compulsory poses as if he just pinned the "Macho Man" or scoop slammed "Andre the Giant." He was in top form.

At one point during the coarse of the evening's events, an 18-top of Japanese business people chanted "Hurlk! Hurlk! Hurlk!" really loud as it boomed across the dining room. But as the Hulkamania subsided into a hushed room, Hulk began to field questions about Jessie Ventura's political career to a group of what appeared to be paper salesman from out of town. All of this was happening while the Hulkster's maki roll sampler plate began to crust over (as sushi rice tends to do if not eaten fast enough).

I am not sure if he even ate any part of his food that night, but it sure was one of the best things I have ever witnessed in a restaurant space.