“What time do you think we should line up?” my friend Jan said. “You think 10:30 is early enough?”
“Oh please,” I said. “It’s a weekday at lunchtime. People WORK.”
At 10:30 on the day of Ramen Burger’s only open-to-the-public popup in Hawaii, 30 minutes before its 700-burger run was slated to begin at Kakaako’s Taste Table, Jan texts me this pic.
For emphasis she leaves a voice message: “Mari! The line is incredible! You cannot believe the fr—–g line!”
Holy Ramen Burger, people. At one point the line stretched out the door at Taste, down Auahi, around the corner to Keawe and all the way to Ala Moana Boulevard. From there it continued to grow. But it was a convivial line. Strangers got so chummy you couldn’t tell who knew each other and who didn’t. When the line moved too slowly a collective will set in, everybody except those who fell out to go back to work completely vested now, determined to stick it out. We all got curious texts and Instagram and Facebook messages from friends, and saw others drive by to check out the line; all of them chickened out. We didn’t. We band of starving survivors, after hours in a single-minded line, we took our turns shuffling slowly up the steps at Taste in our own collective victory march.
In the end Jan and I got our Ramen Burgers at 2:30. I’m glad I stuck it out. For a few hours on an improbable Wednesday, Ramen Burger made this piece of Kakaako the center of an odd but worthy universe. It was about more than just lunch. Which was, by the way, very good.