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Bahooka's 37-Year Old Pacu Fish Causing Tensions

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Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Bahooka, the now defunct tiki bar in Rosemead, still has one lasting legacy that's causing some unlikely tension between ownership of the new restaurant, and the former tiki haunt's fans. Rufus, the 37-year old pacu fish that's lived its entire life inside a small tank at Bahooka, had been kept alive after the restaurant's shutter with plans to relocate it to another tiki spot. According to the LA Times, new ownership, which hopes to convert the space into a Chinese restaurant called May Flower, had promised to allow Rufus to find a new home. But now management is trying to keep the pacu fish, along with a few of the other fish that occupy the 100-some tanks, at the establishment for themselves.

Rufus had been living at the abandoned restaurant since Bahooka's closure last year, only to be taken care of by a former cook who drove in from San Bernardino. Lynn Garrett of Hidden L.A. launched a group to raise funds and donate the fish to another tiki place: Damon's Steakhouse in Glendale. Says Garrett: "We are still willing to take the fish on and we really do care about him." But May Flower wants to keep Rufus, along with the other fish, because "of the press attention," they bring. On top of that, they're asking for donations for around $6,000 to $12,000 to build a new aquarium for Rufus that will be nearly seven times larger than his current tank. Developing...
·Rufus, a 37-year-old pacu fish and tiki icon, finds a home [LA Times]


4501 Rosemead Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770