ON-LINE ORDERING

Aloha and Happy Holidays,

I wanted to take a moment of your time to remind you that our "on-line" ordering system is up and running!

During the fall of 2017 we invested quite a bit of time and money to make this available to you, "our guests". We have designed the system to save you time and MONEY! That's right...for a limited time, "almost" everything from our "on-line" menu is value priced below our regular menu prices.  You can order as a guest or set up a profile, once you set up a profile on-line ordering is even easier.

All you have to do is visit our web sight kohalaburger.com or you can download our "app" at the Apple or Google store.

As we begin our holiday season (Dec 16th) it is important to know that we will not be accepting telephone orders from 11am-4pm, if you need to order ahead you will have to order on-line.  The on-line menu is more streamlined and gives you a few less choices for "changing" our food all around, please visit us in person to place orders that require special attention, as we strive to meet your dietary needs. 

Our goals are twofold, one, to provide a better experience for the guests who are here "right-now"  and plan on "dining-in" with us in our NEW and EXPANDED Kawaihae Dining Hall.  Secondly, we are confident that the on-line option will give our locals and regulars best value pricing (be sure to look for the VIP internet specials) speedier service, an opportunity to determine their own pick up time and skip the line.

Mahalo

Chef Cary

 

THE GOODY SHOP!

Have you read about our new Dining Hall and Goody Shop?

By Liz Nakayama Special to West Hawaii Today KAWAIHAE — Chef Cary Peterson has a surprise for Kohala Burger &Taco (KBAT) patrons — a “sweet” surprise. Acquiring the space next door, he has added a new but nostalgic candy-and-toy store he’s named the Goody Shop, also providing additional restaurant seating. Browsing in the store immediately takes one back to a time before cellphones, when kids played with toys and spent time outdoors. For baby boomers it’s an unexpected trip down memory lane and an opportunity, Peterson hopes, for them to share fun memories with their families. “What this restaurant is all about for me is getting back to my childhood … to the stuff I loved when I was a kid and the stuff my parents liked doing with me,” he said, “like going to get a hamburger and root beer float, or looking at baseball cards and playing Wiffle ball.” “I imagine a family spending thousands of dollars to come on a Hawaiian vacation and renting a hotel room on the beach, yet their 12-year-old kid is sitting there on a cell phone. My goal for the Goody Shop is to make vintage beach games and toys available and get back to a time when that was how we entertained ourselves.” In addition to Frisbees and Wiffle balls, the store carries pro-brand footballs and volleyballs as well as silly putty, cap guns, wooden gliders and water balloon launchers and squirters. There are also beach toys, charm bracelets, baseball cards, comic books and replica vintage lunch boxes to go along with old-fashioned candy. “I wanted to tie it all together with a nostalgic style candy store where you can buy the candy you remember as a kid,” Peterson said. The Goody Shop’s candy inventory includes jaw breakers, pop rocks, gold nugget gum, pixie sticks, smarties, root beer barrels, Cracker Jacks and atomic fire balls. This month and next month, people can also select from the Goody Shop’s special Halloween selection including glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, zombie teeth and scary makeup kits. Likewise, the shop will feature Christmas-themed toys and candy during the season and similarly themed selections on other major holidays. “Customers should expect something new, something exciting and something added on to enhance their experience every time they come,” Peterson said. He kept his eye on the space next door since opening Kohala Burger seven years ago. It had remained vacant for a couple of years but he and the then-landlord couldn’t come to an agreement on a financially feasible long-term lease. As luck would have it, or maybe with persistence, Peterson was recently given another opportunity to acquire the space. During a chance encounter with owners who were leasing it short-term, he offered to buy them out. They agreed so he took ownership July 1, and overnight KBAT’s footprint doubled. Rehabbing the space has included painting and a new service and cashier’s counter. And in accordance with Peterson’s vision, there is now picnic-table-style seating for families to sit down together to dine. His goal is to have the restaurant match on both sides but with one distinction. The north side, or the original narrower restaurant, continues to serve as a get-in-quick, to-go side of the house, while the new area is open for more relaxed dining — good news for diners who previously wanted to sit down to dine but the space wasn’t always available. The additional remodeled side means Peterson can also now market more of his own products, in response to customer demand. “We’ve always had a demand for our own hats, T-shirts, taco sauce, salsas and seasoning mix,” he said. “Now we have the room to feature our products and sell T-shirts so people can remember their visit to Hawaii and the day they came to Kawaihae.” Peterson’s guiding principle through the years he’s been in business is his mission statement, which he has framed and hanging on the wall. It includes the word “create” because that word means that we make this stuff. “We’re creating this whole experience from the food to the way we approach and talk to you,” he said. The mission statement also talks about the “fun and familiar.” “We make our hamburgers the way people remember, on a flat griddle with a hot soft toasted bun and house-made dressing,” he said. Lastly, when you look at KBAT’s mission statement, you see the word ALOHA. “Every letter is capitalized because to us, aloha means more than just being nice to people,” Peterson said. “We actually have an Aloha Service System which is something we created and every letter stands for a step in that cycle, from the time customers walk in the door to the time they leave. We train that.” As a businessman, Peterson practices the aloha philosophy in how he treats his employees. In addition to training them on how to enter the professional world, he gives his employees medical insurance, a retirement plan with a company-match IRA, a bonus profit-share program and time off on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July. “When I opened Kohala Burger and Taco, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be serving 300 people a day,” he said. “I really hope that growth on the Big Island can provide more opportunities for people. I’m hoping to do my part by striving to be the best small employer on the island.”

By Liz Nakayama Special to West Hawaii Today

KAWAIHAE — Chef Cary Peterson has a surprise for Kohala Burger &Taco (KBAT) patrons — a “sweet” surprise.

Acquiring the space next door, he has added a new but nostalgic candy-and-toy store he’s named the Goody Shop, also providing additional restaurant seating.

Browsing in the store immediately takes one back to a time before cellphones, when kids played with toys and spent time outdoors. For baby boomers it’s an unexpected trip down memory lane and an opportunity, Peterson hopes, for them to share fun memories with their families.

“What this restaurant is all about for me is getting back to my childhood … to the stuff I loved when I was a kid and the stuff my parents liked doing with me,” he said, “like going to get a hamburger and root beer float, or looking at baseball cards and playing Wiffle ball.”

“I imagine a family spending thousands of dollars to come on a Hawaiian vacation and renting a hotel room on the beach, yet their 12-year-old kid is sitting there on a cell phone. My goal for the Goody Shop is to make vintage beach games and toys available and get back to a time when that was how we entertained ourselves.”

In addition to Frisbees and Wiffle balls, the store carries pro-brand footballs and volleyballs as well as silly putty, cap guns, wooden gliders and water balloon launchers and squirters. There are also beach toys, charm bracelets, baseball cards, comic books and replica vintage lunch boxes to go along with old-fashioned candy.

“I wanted to tie it all together with a nostalgic style candy store where you can buy the candy you remember as a kid,” Peterson said.

The Goody Shop’s candy inventory includes jaw breakers, pop rocks, gold nugget gum, pixie sticks, smarties, root beer barrels, Cracker Jacks and atomic fire balls. This month and next month, people can also select from the Goody Shop’s special Halloween selection including glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs, zombie teeth and scary makeup kits. Likewise, the shop will feature Christmas-themed toys and candy during the season and similarly themed selections on other major holidays.

“Customers should expect something new, something exciting and something added on to enhance their experience every time they come,” Peterson said.

He kept his eye on the space next door since opening Kohala Burger seven years ago. It had remained vacant for a couple of years but he and the then-landlord couldn’t come to an agreement on a financially feasible long-term lease. As luck would have it, or maybe with persistence, Peterson was recently given another opportunity to acquire the space. During a chance encounter with owners who were leasing it short-term, he offered to buy them out. They agreed so he took ownership July 1, and overnight KBAT’s footprint doubled.

Rehabbing the space has included painting and a new service and cashier’s counter. And in accordance with Peterson’s vision, there is now picnic-table-style seating for families to sit down together to dine.

His goal is to have the restaurant match on both sides but with one distinction. The north side, or the original narrower restaurant, continues to serve as a get-in-quick, to-go side of the house, while the new area is open for more relaxed dining — good news for diners who previously wanted to sit down to dine but the space wasn’t always available.

The additional remodeled side means Peterson can also now market more of his own products, in response to customer demand.

“We’ve always had a demand for our own hats, T-shirts, taco sauce, salsas and seasoning mix,” he said. “Now we have the room to feature our products and sell T-shirts so people can remember their visit to Hawaii and the day they came to Kawaihae.”

Peterson’s guiding principle through the years he’s been in business is his mission statement, which he has framed and hanging on the wall. It includes the word “create” because that word means that we make this stuff.

“We’re creating this whole experience from the food to the way we approach and talk to you,” he said.

The mission statement also talks about the “fun and familiar.”

“We make our hamburgers the way people remember, on a flat griddle with a hot soft toasted bun and house-made dressing,” he said.

Lastly, when you look at KBAT’s mission statement, you see the word ALOHA.

“Every letter is capitalized because to us, aloha means more than just being nice to people,” Peterson said. “We actually have an Aloha Service System which is something we created and every letter stands for a step in that cycle, from the time customers walk in the door to the time they leave. We train that.”

As a businessman, Peterson practices the aloha philosophy in how he treats his employees. In addition to training them on how to enter the professional world, he gives his employees medical insurance, a retirement plan with a company-match IRA, a bonus profit-share program and time off on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July.

“When I opened Kohala Burger and Taco, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be serving 300 people a day,” he said. “I really hope that growth on the Big Island can provide more opportunities for people. I’m hoping to do my part by striving to be the best small employer on the island.”

online ordering

Online ordering is finally here! After several months of trial and error we have launched our first application for online ordering.  There are 2 ways to do it. you can visit our web sight at kohalaburger.com or you can download our app for andriod & apple.

The online menu is not our FULL menu but most items are there and many items are priced lower than our FULL in store menu.  Take a peek we're sure you'll find your favorites! 

Online ordering is available from 11am-4pm daily.  This does not necessarily represent our operating store hours as we may be open on some eves as well.  Please see our operating calendar for store closing and holiday hours.

When you place your order online, you may order and pay.  You will be able to select a pickup time, pickup time slots are limited to every 10 minutes. Your payment will be processed through a secure shopping cart.  When you arrive at your selected pickup time all you have to do is pick up your order. Walk up to the front of the line and let the cashier know you ordered online. We will have it ready for you.  Remember your pick up time is our contract, we agree to have it ready on time, you agree to be there to pick it up on time...WE DON'T HAVE HEAT-LAMPS and we want you to get the very best quality. 

ALL ONLINE ORDERS are packaged for "CARRY OUT", that means you are ordering "To-GO".   PLEASE DO NOT ORDER ONLINE if you plan on "DINING-IN", chances are there will be no table available at your pick up time.

Average saving is about .75 per item (some vary) and time savings are tremendous DON'T EVER WAIT IN LINE AGAIN AT KBAT!  Try it out and let us know how it all worked, we will continue to work and make improvements to the online ordering process. Our goal is to make the service easier and more efficient.  Your feedback is important to us. 

In the process of creating the online ordering model, it was our goal to "streamline"  "THE"  most difficult part of providing fast and efficient service is accommodating "special requests" to orders. We are sorry but you wont find that here, online, we offer what is called "room service" this is designed especially for those who need it "special" this preparation style will provide all condiments and fixings "on the side" so you can make it just how you want.  Unfortunately due the cost of packaging items this way we will charge an extra .99 per item. Some items like salads or shakes may not be able to be changed at all.  If you require a special order of have dietary restrictions ect... or simply can't bear the thought of having to pull off your own pickles cause you hate em so much (btw did you know that we use hand cut Claussen Kosher Dills?) then come on in and have one of our wonderful cashiers assist you with your order and give you some ALOHA Service, we can make it however you want.  But remember the "KBAT way" is time tested and always the best value.

See you on the web.

Chef Cary and The KBAT Crew

KONA CAR HOP JUNE 10, 2017

Slick back your hair or grab your poodle skirt because Saturday night is gonna be Hoppin!

Its a classic 50's style drive in CAR-HOP right here in Kona.

Join Chef Cary and The #KBTMBL Food Truck Crew as they grill up some nostalgic style burgers and Island Style Fresh Fish Tacos! This Saturday at HPM in Kona, its a fundraiser for the Hawaii Island Food Bank as well as a sneak peak at HPM's new showroom and new store grand opening.  The food orders will be "rolled" out by the Echo City Knockout Roller Derby Team.

We are so pleased to be called on to participate in this fun night. This event truly is a reflection of our Kawaihae concept where you can still find nostalgic grilled to order hamburgers made with care and from the Islands finest ingredients.  Kohala Burger and Taco "IS THAT PLACE" you used to go when you were a kid.

See you there!

#KBTMBL Food Truck Update

Aloha Food Truck Fans,

The #KBTMBL Food Truck is wrapping up its first winter and spring season. We wanted to say thank you for the support, we are so happy with how things have gone.

The Food Truck is going to be headed to the shop for general maintenance and repairs so we will be having limited service and we wanted to keep you up to date.

We will not be attending the Kona Street Eatz on Friday April 21st. Friday April 28th is still not yet determined (we will keep you posted) We will not be attending the Waimea Farmers Market on April 22 or April 29th, but plan on attending the May 6th "Pop Up Sale".

We will be on Hiatus from Kona Street Eatz for all of May 2017, look for us back in Kona           June 2017. 

Remember to follow #KBTMBL on your social media to get Food Truck updates and locations.

Mahalo,

Chef Cary

GYROS EVERY THURSDAY - FOOD FIT FOR THE GODS

Thank Zeus its Thursday! For all you Gyros Lover's... now your favorite Gyros are available at #KBAT EVERY THURSDAY! Kronos Brand Lamb and NEW "Kane" Brand Hawaii Grass Fed Beef GYROS.  We will also be offering other Island Favorites with a "Mediterranean Twist" 

Stay tuned as we roll out these great new items: Fried Zucchini, Kalamari, Greek Salad, Poseidon Seared Tuna Salad and more, all coming soon.

Keep an eye out on our social media was we will be giving away 50 of our own $4 coins to kick off this promotion.  Be sure you are part of our "Loyalty and Rewards" program. You can sign up here on our home page, get alerts, specials and freebies!

See you THURSDAYS! #TZIT

 

#KBTMBL FOOD TRUCK IN WAIMEA SATURDAY'S

We have found a new home for our food truck on Saturday's in Waimea / Kamuela!

We will be attending the Waimea Farmer's Market behind the Waimea Elementary School. Saturday's 8:30am-12:30pm. You can find us easy by turning in at the Kahilu Theatre. Look for our signs.

This is a great market, "Real" Farmers and other goodies, "Total Aloha Vibe". Easy Parking, great prices, fun people!

We hope to see you at the market :)

HELP WANTED

Aloha,

Do you or anyone else you know say "I, can't find a job" or " I don't like my current job"?? I have the answer, Kohala Burger and Taco is searching for you! Our business continues to grow, mostly due to the awesome group of people we have working now.  But we need to add to that team of professionals. We can no longer maintain hours, prices, service levels or menu offerings unless we can build our staff.  It is simply TOO BUSY!

What can I tell you about Kohala Burger and Taco? Mainly, that "this is a hard job"! Serving the Island's Best Burgers & Fish Tacos is difficult enough, then add to that, working to maintain service and ALOHA that has earned us the Island's Highest Yelp and Trip Advisor Ratings (feel free to check for yourself)....and finally making this job the "triple whammy" of hard work is that KBAT is among the nation's busiest locations, in sales per square foot.   

Quite honestly most people who "get in here" and actually apply are hired! But despite my honest disclosure with them about the difficulties of this job, they say no problem " I can do it" the reality is simply this. "most people are not cut out for this type of hard work" Why? Because it requires actual work, consistency and dedication to be good at anything.  While working for Kohala Burger we require that you learn our menu, learn our recipes, be on time and follow basic procedures.  Most importantly I require that you have the attitude of someone who is willing to serve. Serve or guests and serve each other.

At this point you must be asking why would anyone do all this? Lets take for starters that we offer the BEST PAY in HAWAII'S quick serve restaurant industry, PERIOD! Are you employed in quick service now? We will beat your current income! We offer flexible schedules, KBAT Crew enjoy part time or full opportunities. We have no late nights we close at 7:30pm or 4:00pm. We have no early mornings most shifts start at 8am-11am. We are closed on Major Holidays: you can enjoy your family on Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We close at 4pm on the holidays where we are open. ALL STAFF MEMBERS share equally in the tips we receive.  We provide a non threatening, clean and sober environment.  We don't serve alcohol at KBAT. We offer Company Managed AFLAC and KAISER health insurance to those who qualify. We offer free meals and employee food discounts. We offer end of the year "Profit Sharing" and yearly paid vacations. We provide you access to state of the art company communication tools, right on your smart phone. We have a structured training and development program. Our shift Leaders make up to $40K per year plus tips.  We continue to offer even larger growth opportunities in Catering, Food Truck, Social Media, Marketing& Management.

Overall if you can "Hack it" ...It's a great place to work.  We encourage you to apply in person any morning from 8:30am to 10:00am. Drop in grab a "Wiki App" be ready for an immediate interview. Be ready to start the job you deserve! If you are serious check us out athttp://www.kohalaburgerandtaco.com/employment/ to watch a video and learn more.

I am looking forward to meeting you,

Sincerely,

Chef Cary

We currently have 5 positions available:

2 Dining Room Server / Cashiers

Food Truck Supervisor

1 Experienced Prep Cook

1 Experienced Line Cook.

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GET LUCKY @KBAT

Want to get lucky this Valentine's Day? Of, course you do.... so do... what all "lovers" do, visit Kohala Burger and Taco for our Bacon Lover's Specials, now thru Valentine's Day.

Our KBAT VIP Loyalty and Rewards members will get a winning envelope when they "Check-In" and visit us on Super Sunday or Valentines Day.  The Grand Prize is Kohala Burger and Taco food and drink for the rest of the year. over $1,000 value. Many other prizes are also up for grabs.

This is the third year of the promotion and we encourage you to participate. No purchase necessary. Everyone's a winner so come and Get Lucky!

FIRST MAPLE BACON SHAKE OF THE SEASON!

So, like seriously...this is one of my favorite times of the year! February 1st -14th, whats not to like?...Tsunami Warning Test...Super Bowl...Valentine's Day...and MAPLE BACON SHAKES!

February 1st every year a critical training program is held at KBAT!  This is where the crew silently gathers and they watch in awe, as I make and DRINK the first Maple Bacon Milk-Shake of the Season. Oh it's so sweet to be the boss.

We all know that February is for Lovers..."Bacon Lover's" that is. Please join us, come try this special treat.  It is only around for a few weeks (now thru Valentine's Day) then we DON'T make them anymore, gone, done, pau!

HandSpun Meadowgold Vanilla Ice Cream, Jones Family Farm Bacon, Log Cabin Maple Syrup and Whipped Cream - It's what make this delicious! We also have some great bacon specials like our Bacon Swiss Deluxe Cheeseburger and Bacon Tacos....YES Bacon Tacos.

See you soon, Mahalo for your business.

Chef Cary

BACON LOVER'S

It's that time of year again. February, it's for lover's...Bacon Lover's! That's right from February 1st through February 14th, Valentines Day, bacon lover's can enjoy great bacon specials at KBAT.

Try our "Soon to be Famous" Maple Bacon Milk-Shake...sounds funny...tastes delicious! or our Bacon Swiss Deluxe Cheeseburger or how about Bacon Tacos?

We also know that Lover's like to Get Lucky...so that's why we encourage you to visit us on Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine's day, "Check-In" with our Loyalty and Rewards program to receive your Winning Mystery Envelope.  Everyone is a winner, Grand prize is FREE food and drink at Kohala Burger & Taco for the rest of the year!!!! A $1,050 value.  Lots of other prizes too!

We sure hope to see you Lover's soon.

Fun Things to Do in North Kohala

The northern part of the Big Island has some amazing historical sites and also many fun activities that let you experience nature, adventure and a great time with your family.

One of the most popular things to do is to fly over land and rivers on a zip line! There are several zip lines on the Big Island, most of them on the Hamakua coast. But the northern Kohala Coast also offers this fun adventure. Kohala Zipline (www.kohalazipline.com) let's you soar under a dense canopy of trees, walk over rope brigdes and rappel down the platforms built around huge trees!

Prefer to float on the water? Learn all about the famous Kohala Ditch with Flumin Kohala (www.fluminkohala.com) while you kayak along on a guided tour through the century old, man-made waterways. These will take you through an incredibly landscapes, underneath historic bridges and through dark tunnels.

You can also experience the Big Island on horseback "Hawaiian cowboy style" with Paniolo Adventures (www.panioloadventures.com). They offer tours for beginners and seasoned riders of all ages.

You feel safer on your own two feet? Enjoy a beautiful hike down to Pololu Valley! After driving through the small town of Hawi continue all the way to the end of the road, where you can park. That is where the trail begins, which will take you through a mesmerizing landscape all the way to a black sand beach at the bottom. The vigorous but easy hike takes about 30 minutes and is 2.5 miles roundtrip. Wear good shoes and don't forget your camera!

The little towns of Hawi and Kapaau are great for shopping and discovering some of the historic sites. Take your time, have a locally grown coffee and enjoy the galleries and unique gift shops that are lined up there!

One of the favorite excursions of all visitors are on a tour boat out of Kawaihae harbor. Captain Bryan with Endless Summer (www.endlesssummerprivatecharters.com) can take you to meet dolphins in the wild and watch whales. The dolphins live here year round, the whales only visit us for a few months between December and March. Or how about a sunset cruise?

Hawaii is also the island of Macadamia Nuts, which grow in many orchards and are processed by the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company. Their gift shop and tasting room is located just a couple of minutes up the road from Kohala Burger & Taco! Local coffee and an amazing array of different Mac Nut treats are there for you to taste and take home!

All of that fun and excitement will make you hungry! Enjoy our great menu of burgers, tacos, salads, shakes, malts and daily specials.

Let the adventure begin!  

Foto Credit: Flumin' Kohala

Foto Credit: Flumin' Kohala

Everything Has A Story

Life is full of stories that live on and find new expressions once again. Chef Cary Peterson has included some of his stories into his Kohala Burger & Taco Restaurant in Kawaihae; you can find them not only in the interior decorations, but also in the menu and the names chosen for the dishes as well as in his business philosophy and love for nostalgic decorations.

Much of it goes back to Lake Tahoe, to his parents' Cantina Restaurants and his early memories of eating out. “Everything comes full circle and has a story,” says Chef Cary, “it is all connected”. 

One of his first culinary experiences that left an impression on him was a cornish game hen that he was served for his 13th birthday at “La Petit Pier” in Tahoe. Many years later his wife began to work at this very place and even Cary spent some months working there, which was in the last summer of the restaurant's existence. This is where he learned at a young age that “food can be much more than just going out eating.” This is why he still delivers an experience and a that special "feel good" atmosphere besides serving up delicious treats. It is all a part of it. Even his first job as a chef was here in Kawaihae in 1991.

Cary grew up in his parent's kitchen and from early on helped out in their Mexican restaurant, where he learned all about the rustic recipes of Mexican home-style cooking. “I have too much respect for the cuisine to  call what I do now 'Mexican' food,” he says. Yet he still refines the techniques and flavors of his youth, much to the pleasure of his guests at KBAT. Chef Cary lived right behind the "world famous" Char Pit restaurant in Tahoe long before he owned it. He remembers playing video games there in his young years while hanging out with friends; picking up change that fell through the cracks of the wooden floor with his brother and has quite a few anecdotes to tell about that time. Once again, full circle. “The Char Pit influenced me long before I owned it!”

Some of the recipes used in KBAT originated there. The thousand island dressing, the cole slaw, the Baja Style Fish Tacos and the Standard Burger are the same as he served them there.

His San Diego Style fish tacos got their name to remind of their origin. While in Southern California he went on a quest to find the best fish tacos around and found them at the old “Don Bahia” restaurant in San Diego. Now they are served in Kawaihae!

The pork carnitas style tacos come with the memory of his family's restaurant where they slow-cooked them the same way decades ago.

There are no coincidences or random items at KBAT. Next time you eat there, ask Chef Cary to share some of his stories with you and make your visit even more memorable.  

The Whales are Back in Kawaihae

One of the most amazing things about winter in Hawaii is to witness the annual visit of the humpback whales in our ocean. Every year they swim thousands of miles from the cold North to breed and calve in our warm waters. According to the Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition there are about 11,000 humpback whales coming to Hawaii between December and March every year.

International efforts to protect these giants of the ocean have been so successful that they were recently taken off the endangered species list. This however does not affect the whaling moratorium, a global ban that was put into place about 50 years ago.

Right outside our little hometown of Kawaihae is one of their favorite playgrounds and you can often see them from the shoreline and beaches as they breach and spout. You can even get up close to them on board one of the great whale watching boats that are located in Kawaihae. See Captain B from “Endless Summer” for a memorable adventure.

Kohala Burger and Taco is committed to protecting the island's natural environment and besides using only Eco friendly, styrofoam free products to serve our dishes and beverages, we also take much care in finding sources for environmentally responsible caught fish and grass-fed beef. As a former “Keeping it Green” Award winner and finalist of “Nature's Plate” we will continue our efforts and improvements where and whenever possible! 

Paniolos and Great Burgers - No Bull

What makes our burgers so good? It is more than the way we make them. It all starts with the best beef you can find. Grass fed, never frozen and Big Island fresh. In our little town of Kawaihae we are close to an abundance of cattle, an industry that began here in the mid 1800s and has influenced this area like nothing else. 

Kawaihae has played an important role in Hawaiian history since the early ages. Its natural harbor has always set it apart from other settlements along the Kohala Coast and still has great significance today. The name Kawaihae means “water of wrath” referring to ancient battles over the natural spring waters once found there. The spring was eventually lost with the development of the harbor. 

Kawaihae became a major hub for merchants and voyagers in the early 1800s and was crucial for the importation of foreign goods and the distribution of local products. Sea-salt was a big industry for many years, which was produced in large salt pans along the shoreline. Hawaiian sea salt was one of the first items that were exchanged between the native and the foreign merchants. Sandalwood was another high in demand product of the area and exported through Kawaihae harbor. Once the forests were depleted and the whaling era came to an end, Kawaihae began to decline, but a new industry began to bloom. The cattle industry. 

The first cattle were brought here by Captain Vancouver as a gift to King Kamehameha I in 1793. They were allowed to roam free and quickly expanded in population. To thin the herds King Kamehameha asked John Palmer Parker to shoot the feral bulls and gave him land in exchange. This was the beginning of the famous Parker Ranch, which today  covers 250,000 acres in and around Waimea. The export of cattle and cattle products became Kawaihae's main activity.

What does cattle need most besides fresh grass and room to roam? Cowboys! This is why Hawaii Island has a strong cowboy culture and even songs about them. The early cowboys were brought in from California and were direct descendants of the Vaquero, the original Mexican cowboys, who had the best skills in handling the bovine expansion. They were first called “Espanola", which the Hawaiian pronunciation quickly turned into “Paniolo”, the name we still give them today.

We pay homage to these hard working riders with our Paniolo Burger. One of the many reasons to come by and enjoy some feel good food in an old fashioned ambiance. 

Chef Cary Peterson opened Kohala Burger and Taco opened in 2010. With all that history what better location could there be for a burger and taco restaurant? “I wanted to create a restaurant that would provide, top quality food, great value, accurate and speedy service,” says Chef Cary. “ Kohala Burger & Taco is the juncture where my years of Mexican food and hamburger experience meet. Right here at the Kawaihae Harbor where it ALL began.  Please enjoy and be reassured that the food prepared here is of the highest quality; Hormone- and antibiotic-free grass fed beef, line Caught sustainable fresh fish, fresh bread and island made tortillas.”        

 

Our Neighborhood

The area around Kawaihae is one of the most diverse and beautiful parts of the Big Island, where you can find vast lava fields and also lush forests, cool elevations and incredible views. Just a short drive from our restaurant you can snorkel and swim on amazing beaches like Hapuna Beach Park or Spencer's Beach Park, but there are also several important, historical sites of the Big Island. 

Visit Pu'ukohola Heiau, a national historic site, just down the road from us. This is the last temple that was build in Hawaii by Kamehameha I. It was finished in the summer of 1791 and is the place where Kamehameha began his journey to unite the Hawaiian Islands under his reign. The massive structure was erected in only one year by artfully placing rock on rock, with no mortar to hold them together. 

From here you have an excellent view of Kawaihae, its harbor and another ancient sacred site located right below the great heiau. It is the old shark temple, Hale of Kapuni, where sacrifices were made to the shark god. Still today, you can see sharks patrolling the area every now and then. 

Going north from Kawaihae and stopping by Kohala Burger and Taco for lunch the landscape will change once again and you'll find quaint, artsy villages, the birthplace of Kamehameha I and eventually  the Pololu Valley Lookout. From there it is just a short and scenic hike down to a black sand beach. 

Today our little town of Kawaihae is mostly known for its active harbor, but it was once the seat of the Kingdom of Hawaii under King Alapaʻinuiakauaua. In the late 1700 it became known for its sheltered location and started to develop as a safe and centrally located shipping hub. From 1790 t0 to 1794 it was the main place of residence for King Kamehameha I and just about 30 years later the first missionaries set foot on the island in Kawaihae. 

As you can imagine, there are many more stories and places to discover and we'd be happy to help you stay well nourished during your adventures along the Kohala Coast. Stop by for lunch and enjoy a healthy, fresh meal in our fun, family friendly and unique nostalgic ambiance. 

Many say we have the best burgers and tacos on the Big Island. Find out for yourself!