Hawaii is smack dab in the middle of the Pacific, so the islands rely heavily upon imported food. But the year-round mild weather and the need for locally grown produce and beef have led to big changes in the meat industry, and Kauai is leading the way for locally raised cattle. Kunoa Cattle has transformed the game by creating local facilities. Trust us, a burger here is not the same as a burger back home!
Located on Kauai’s east side, Bubba Burgers has been serving tasty burgers since 1936. They don’t recommend lettuce and tomato; they want the meat to do all the talking. Bubba’s serves only Kauai grass-fed beef, on a toasted bun with mustard, Bubba relish and chopped onions. Enjoy your burger on the large lanai with the classic rock music pumping on the speakers. Open daily 10:30am to 8pm and would be happy to flip some burgers for you. bubbaburger.com
For more than 30 years this family-run business has been serving fresh and delicious food in Hanalei. They’ve got burgers, they’ve got booze, and they’ve got a lovely open-air venue. It’s just the place to sink your teeth into a burger! During Covid times, Hanalei Gourmet is open Monday through Friday 11:30am to 8:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 10:30am to 8:30pm. hanaleigourmet.com
The concept at Kenji Burger is a fusion of sushi and burgers — think burritos and burgers dressed with teriyaki sauce and ponzu aioli. It’s strictly 100% Kauai grass-fed beef between these buns, and it’s best accompanied by some furikake fries. As the locals say, this is some ono grindz! Open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11am to 8:30pm and Friday and Saturday 11am to 8:30pm. Closed Tuesday. kenjiburger.com
This is not your average food truck — Kickshaws has a gourmet twist. Owner/chef (and former organic farmer) Seth Peterson uses sous vide cooking and other avant garde techniques to create unique burgers. The 30-hour cured burger is a staple, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try the camel burger. The truck is located just across from Sueoka’s Market in Koloa. Open Wednesday through Saturday 11am to 3pm. Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. kickshaws808.com
Street Burger is serving 100% Kauai grass-fed and -raised Makaweli Ranch beef. Their burger list is long, but whichever one you choose, be sure to save room for their Texas Poutine and a cold beverage, of course. Open Tuesday through Saturday 4pm to 9:30pm. Closed Sunday and Monday. streetburgerkauai.com
This old-school Kauai dive bar has been featured on Eater.com and was used as a set location for The Descendants. Maybe it’s the decor, maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the live music, but whatever “it” is, Tahiti Nui is a great place to enjoy a burger and a beer. Open Monday through Friday 11am to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 9pm. thenui.com