Honolulu Cheap Eats!
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The Feral Burger ($12) is worthy of its title. It’s an aggressive burger, with a patty made of Kauai ground beef and house-smoked, ground pork, topped with thick slices of pork belly, sautéed onions, cheddar and aioli. Get it as sliders or a full sandwich. Either way, it’s a show (and heart) stopper. 3501 Rice St., Lihue, Kauai, (808) 246-1100.
Don’t think of Morning Glass just for individually-brewed Stumptown and house-roasted coffees. Our order here always includes the Better Burger ($10.50) when available (Fridays and Saturdays). The highlights: freshly ground grass-fed, local beef and rotating selection of toppings like melted Gouda, crispy bacon, shimeji mushrooms and peppery baby arugula, served on a grilled ciabatta roll. 2955 E. Manoa Rd., 673-0065.
Nowhere else in the state can you get a burger as envisioned by a two-Michelin-starred chef. Josiah Citrin of Melisse in Los Angeles has opened what his chef Josh Blain calls “a chef-driven burger joint.” What that means: 100 percent Maui beef for the thin, hand-pressed patty between a soft, toasted bun. Everything, from the buns to the sauces and spice blends, are Sure Thing’s own recipe. But it’s not so much a gourmet burger as a classic one done well. There’s also a spiced pork burger ground in-house from pork shoulder and belly, topped with Kona barbecue sauce, slaw and grilled onions, and a juicy, flavorful turkey burger ground from whole turkeys, punched up with a basil-apple sauce. All burgers are $6.70 for kamaaina. 790 Front St., Lahaina, Maui, Suite I270, 214-6982.
Pay your respects to the King in the Elvis Room, then sink into a booth and order some food. More authentic diners along Route 66 would have a hard time beating the freshness of Highway Fountain’s fish and chips ($10.95), ono encased in a light and crispy beer batter. For something more diner-esque, Big Island beef hamburgers ($6.95) have just the right amount of char, and a malted vanilla milk shake ($4.35) completes the picture. 35-2704 Old Mamalahoa Highway, Laupahoehoe, Hawaii Island, (808) 962-0808.
While you could easily drink your dinner here, sampling the 13 house-brewed beers on tap, your night (and morning) will go much smoother if you get something to eat. Try the Baja fish tacos ($12.95), crispy battered fish on flour tortillas, topped with a creamy cilantro sauce, guacamole and fresh, bright salsa. 64-1066 Mamalahoa Hwy. #A, Waimea, Hawaii Island, (808) 887-1717, bigislandbrewhaus.com.
In Hilo, Puka Puka Kitchen’s falafel, lamb and ahi plates all hit the spot, but nothing satisfies there—or anywhere, really—quite like the fried oysters ($13.33). They come breaded in panko and served on a bed of garlic fried rice beside a mountain of mixed greens, with a delightful goat-cheese balsamic dressing. For your BYOB convenience, there’s a KTA supermarket just around the corner, because nothing goes with fried oysters quite as well as cold beer (price varies). 270 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, Hawaii Island, 933-2121.