What happened to Rufus?
May 22, 2014 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Until recently, Rosemead, CA was home to one of the last great tiki restaurants, Bahooka. Bahooka's star resident was Rufus, a 37-year old Pacu, who graced the entrance area. Rufus loved carrots. He appeared in several movies, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Bahooka closed in early 2013. Sadly, despite fan efforts to save and relocate Rufus, his whereabouts are now a mystery, and as the site's new owners are not communicating, fears have grown that Rufus was simply thrown away.
posted by anazgnos (23 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

posted by infinitywaltz at 3:24 PM on May 22

Rufus :-(
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:31 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

I hate being that guy, but smarter things that probably felt much more were eaten every day in that restaurant.
posted by codswallop at 3:41 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]

"smarter things that probably felt much more were eaten every day"
Not very likely--lots of food at the Bahooka looked like it came from cans or the freezer or maybe even both. I liked the place, but the food wasn't really the reason anyone went there.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:53 PM on May 22

God, that makes me mad. I'm wondering if Hidden L.A. has any info?
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:11 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

I hate being that guy, but smarter things that probably felt much more were eaten every day in that restaurant.

Mourning something that one loved doesn't have to make logical sense or be consistent with an ethos. Its a powerful thing, mourning.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:22 PM on May 22 [12 favorites]

Also see this this video from May 5, by Mefi's own Scram (who hopefully will be along soon with any more info she's been able to find on Rufus).
posted by jjwiseman at 4:34 PM on May 22

Also, suggested tag for this post: rufusproofoflife.
posted by jjwiseman at 4:35 PM on May 22

Not very likely--lots of food at the Bahooka looked like it came from cans or the freezer or maybe even both.


And where do you suppose it came from before it was put into cans or freezers?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:45 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]

If I could not keep Rufus and couldn't find anybody willing to take him/her, he/she is plenty big enough for a couple of nice fillets. Throw Rufus away? Not in a million years.
posted by jfuller at 4:45 PM on May 22

It sounds like Zhu treated Rufus and the other fish so callously. Why? Just because some animals ultimately get eaten doesn't mean that it's OK to mistreat any of them.
posted by rue72 at 4:47 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]

have they checked trader vic's and don the beachcomber?
posted by bruce at 4:54 PM on May 22

Just because some animals ultimately get eaten doesn't mean that it's OK to mistreat any of them.

Exactly. People ultimately die and nothing we do in life means anything at all or has even the slightest impact on the universe or even on the amount of Coca Cola advertising that goes up, but everybody keeps going on and on about how we're supposed to be nice to one another.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:04 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]

I am sorry if someone loved him, and don't want to sound insensitive, but pacu is the most commonly eaten fish in Mato Grosso. Pacu ribs are awesome!
posted by Tom-B at 5:11 PM on May 22

The situation surrounding Rufus remains shadowy and fraught with intrigue. The latest "news" is that one Tiki Central message board contributor has tried to pass photos of a different fish off as Rufus. It is unclear if this fraud originated with the property owner, or is the contributor's sick idea of a joke.

I'm afraid it's not looking good for that sweet old fish. And as easy as it is to vilify the property owner, shame on the Schneider family for handing off Rufus and his finny friends as if they were just more plastic parrots and net-wrapped fishing floats. There were plenty of people who wanted to give a home to the fishes, but these yahoos were too busy treating heartbroken longtime customers like dirt to pursue any of those offers. Whatever the final fate of Rufus, be it known or obscure, it rests squarely on their heads, with a carrot on top.
posted by Scram at 6:17 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]

I suspect the owner and company were all, "This is way too much time, effort, and money to save some stupid fish that can't even be moved" and yeah, chucked him out. And sadly, that's jerkass owner's power and prerogative and you can't stop him.

RIP, Rufus. Enjoy that tank in the sky, I guess.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:44 PM on May 22

Aw man, this makes me sad. Poor Rufus.
posted by sarcasticah at 7:16 PM on May 22

I feel bad for Rufus, but what is happening to our tiki restaurants? Why cannot we sustain even a handful of them? I mean Palo Alto has like eleventy billion Facebook millionaires and you can't even keep Trader Vic's open? Fascists.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:18 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]

So, initially, this comment was going to be all about how I first found out about Rufus in L.A. Bizarro, which is one of my favourite books, and I never got a chance to go to Bahooka every time I went back to L.A. because family stuff and whatnot.

But looking up L.A. Bizarro meant that I just found out Anthony Lovett died in January and Jesus Christ.

Like I said, L.A. Bizarro is one of my favourite books, and I met him back in 2008 at a Lucha Vavoom show. He was promoting his new version of L.A. Bizarro, and I gushed over the book, and told him how delighted I was with everything, and I picked up his business card, which declares him to be a "writer, artist, bon vivant".

I still have that business card in my wallet. I've thrown out plenty of cards, but I can't get rid of this one.

I hope he's feeding carrots to Rufus in that great big tiki bar in the sky.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:48 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]

Zhu seems like a dick, but why the hell didn't Bahooka's owners take care of Rufus? they're the ones who made heaps of money off of him. And why aren't they getting any flack for not having done so?
posted by dobbs at 5:26 AM on May 23

"Renowned tiki artist Tom “Thor” Thordarson sketched a heart-breaking illustration of Rufus, alone and confused, which went viral on the Internet among tiki communities and fan sites…."

There's a whole previously unknown world in that sentence. (Comes from the last link.)
posted by cjorgensen at 5:54 AM on May 23

Ah, man...I have some fond memories of my dad taking us to Bahooka when I was a kid, but now I'm just sad for some fish that probably wasn't even there yet.
posted by malocchio at 7:10 AM on May 23

There is always a way/place to re-home an animal... Craigslist, Kijiji, etc...

When we eventually tired of the lovely "circle of life" that was our fish experience over 4 years and dozens (hundreds?) of "replacements" through a series of ever larger tank infrastructure, we were left with the 6 of the meanest, most cannibalistic fresh-water fish I have ever seen - it was Darwinism at it's finest... But, no one wanted to clean the latest giant tank anymore... So, we gave them to our vet - and now, whenever we visit with our dogs, we can still see those nasty, evil fish...

(Hmmmm.... speaking of which, anyone looking for some a male/female pair of adult bearded dragons? And one baby/juvenile?)
posted by jkaczor at 10:34 AM on May 23

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