For 30 plus years Wahoo’s Fish Taco has been a Southern California institution. They’re known for a fusion of food and the way they celebrate the surf/skate lifestyle. Over the years you could catch them doling out righteous and health conscious munchies to a hungry crowd at any one of their many locations or at the X-Games, Vans US Open, Coachella or other action sport or music events.
A big reason we love them so much is their melding of Mexican, Brazilian and Asian cuisines. That combination has made them the “go-to” for those who embrace the West Coast beach culture and helped facilitate the growth of their brand Nationwide.
In addition to making great food the folks at Wahoo’s have always given back to the community through various foundations. They’ve also supported causes such as Children’s Hunger Fund, Humane Society, World Wildlife Fund and Doctors Without Borders. However, like most all local restaurants the hit they’ve taken during this “CV-19 Shutdown” has slowed things down for them. Notwithstanding today’s challenges, their charitable approach to life has not gone off track.
I had a chance to talk to Wing Lam, one of the founders (along with his brothers Ed & Mingo Lee) to find out more about how life in the age of “Stay at Home Orders” has impacted Wahoo’s.
THE WAHOO’S STORY
This is his response:
First question was … how has Covid-19 affected Wahoo’s?
Wing said “It’s been tough,.,.. right now we are offering both take out services and delivery through Grubhub, but we had to adjust as business is down 70-80%. We have worked with our landlords to help us with rent so our only costs are labor and food to keep the staff going. One of the first things we did when this started was to give our employees care packages (rice, beans, tortillas, chicken, toilet paper) from the stock we had.”
We asked about the rumors that Wahoo’s was providing meals for the local hospitals.
Wing went on to say “When things started to “hit the fan” about a month ago … through our partnership with KROQ, we hooked up with Yogurtland, OC Baking Company, Toast as well as other local entities to provide meals and some relief to many hospitals in the region.”
“We’ve also reached out to CHOC, Downey Regional, Kaiser, Hoag, Long Beach Memorial, UCI Medical Center, St Francis Medical Center and others. For all of us at Wahoo’s, the look of gratitude on their faces is worth the effort when they see the Wahoo’s and Yogurtland trucks roll up and they see that we appreciate their efforts to fight this virus.”
The WORLD FAMOUS KROQ
We asked how much effort and collaboration does such an undertaking involve?
He said “Based on our relationships, everyone we’ve approached has come on board; as a result… others have begun to seek us out. We may compete against each other in better times, but we’ve come together in a tough situation to help out others.“
“An interesting thing that has come out of this is our banner supplier whose business had slowed is now busy making face masks. We approached him to make banners to help advertise our Take Out business and he made us Wahoo’s face masks which we wear when we deliver food to the hospitals.“
“People saw them and now he has 10,000-unit orders for police departments and other entities looking for a personal touch. We have also partnered with another friend to make face shields for our delivery services as well as other needed uses in the medical field.”
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ALL this is a testament to the good heart of Wahoo’s in helping their fellow human beings.
OTHER NON-MENU ITEMS
You can also get two washable face covers for $ 10 with any purchase.
It’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on today. It’s even easier to blame today’s events on anything you want. It takes character to look beyond that and reach out to your brothers and sisters and offer help.
“It’s easy to make a buck, it’s hard to make a difference“