First Look: Drips Burgers

If you’ve ever wondered if someone is only dating you for your looks, eat a messy Drips burger in front of them.
The cheeseburger from Drips Burger in Downtown. The menu here is simple and straightforward.
Photos: Enjy El-Kadi


This tiny, family-owned burger shop garners long lines during lunch in the mauka side of Maunakea Marketplace’s food court, with a pretty straightforward menu specializing in quality burgers and fries. Simple. We like simple.


Our first tip: Arrive early. We got there at around 1 p.m. and Drips had already sold out of the alfredo mushroom burger and loco moco burger.


I ordered the mushroom Swiss burger ($6.50). When I opened the container, I saw the burger overflowing with sautéed mushrooms and onions, Swiss cheese oozing over the bun. Owner Dennis Leon buys the lettuce from street vendors around Chinatown, so it’s fresh and crisp. The burger patty itself was incredibly juicy—I used an entire stack of napkins throughout the meal—and a good size: big enough to support all the toppings. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the star of the show because the burger flavor got a little lost in the mix of cheese, mushrooms, onions and au jus mayo.


The mushroom swiss burger is packed with sautéed mushrooms, onions and melted cheese.


Drips buns are basically manapua without the filling—Leon buys them from Sing Cheong Bakery in Chinatown. One of my co-workers found the bun too dense, but I enjoyed the hearty texture which I thought was necessary to hold all the toppings together. To be fair, my co-worker ordered the regular cheeseburger ($6), which had fewer ingredients to hold together.


The burger joint was also out of garlic fries so we opted for the teri fries instead, which were crinkle-cut and lightly coated with a teriyaki sauce. The sauce was perfect, just enough to taste but not enough to puddle and make the fries soggy—which is good because the fries could have been crispier.


We also ordered the teri burger ($6.25) and the avocado, bacon and feta burger ($7.75). The latter included a generous helping of avocado and came stuffed with feta cheese.


The avocado, bacon and feta burger is stuffed with feta cheese.


If you’re looking for more than lunch—say, an eating contest—Drips offers a burger challenge that involves eating a foot-long bun topped with four pounds of meat and a pound of cheddar cheese. To find out more about the challenge, visit the website. The website also promises three secret burgers, but the cashier told us that’s just a placeholder for now. It’s clear that since opening in April, some of the details are still being worked out.


There are a few tables nearby, but the inside gets pretty warm with little air circulation. After waiting upward of 20 minutes for our four burgers, we needed some air. Undeterred, we walked to one of the many outdoor tables scattered around Downtown to eat. That might be the best way to enjoy Drips, anyway—grab and go.


We got upgraded fries, a drink and a burger for a total of $9—a hard-to-beat price for a meal of this size and quality. A long wait and warm indoor dining aside, if you’re looking for a ginormous burger at a reasonable price, Drips is worth the trip.


Maunakea Market Place, 1120 Maunakea St., Suite 113, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday,


Join us for an evening of fantastic food, creative cocktails and exhilarating entertainment as we celebrate Hawai‘i’s very best restaurants at the 2018 Hale ‘Aina Awards: Destination Delicious on Sept. 17 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Take a culinary trip around the world in one evening while you dine on artfully crafted dishes from Hawai‘i’s best chefs. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.