If you are traveling on the Big Island or are local and want to head up to North Kohala for a hike in Pololu’u Valley, or snorkeling at MahuKona or camping at Spencer Beach Park for the afternoon, I suggest checking out Kohala Burger and Taco at the Kawaihae Shopping Center. I have been there about four times and have enjoyed the food and especially the hamburgers, which are grass fed and super juicy. I wanted to share this with you because the restaurant is one of those “hidden food gems” on the Big Island and they are celebrating their 5th anniversary which also includes food deals! $5 burgers, malts, beef and fish tacos from November 16-19th until 3:30 each day. Affordable and delicious and while you are up there, go for a hike or a swim!
Here is more info: American Coastal Cuisine Meets Nostalgic Burger Joint-Kohala Burger and Taco Celebrates 5 Years
Kohala Burger and Taco was born in the middle of the Great Recession and has flourished into a restaurant that has received some of the best reviews on Yelp (234 reviews) and TripAdvisor (235 reviews) of any restaurant on the island with an average of 4.5 stars. A unique accomplishment for Chef/Owner Cary Peterson who opened his contemporary American coastal cuisine meets nostalgic burger joint in November 2010 in the Kawaihae Shopping Center on the Big Island.
“The vision for the restaurant is to utilize fresh and locally sourced ingredients, which embrace Hawaii’s grass fed beef supply and its abundance of fresh line caught wild fish,” Chef Cary explains.
Chef/Owner Cary Peterson grew up working in his family’s Mexican restaurant business. In 1991, Cary’s family opened a restaurant in Kawaihae, this was his first working Chef job. Eventually Cary moved to Southern California where he further developed his kitchen and management skills working with one of the nation’s largest Mexican restaurant chains.
After a nine-year corporate restaurant career, Chef Cary moved back to his hometown in North Lake Tahoe. In 2001, he purchased his childhood haunt the “World Famous”
Char-Pit. This landmark restaurant, established in 1962, is where he learned the techniques and recipes used to create the those nostalgic flavors of the great 50’s style “Drive-In” burgers and shakes. The menu selections at Kohala Burger & Taco are a reflection of these truly classic items.
When it became clear that Hawaii’s Recession in 2009 was going to force a change, Chef Cary took all of his savings and went to work and began developing the Kohala Burger and Taco concept in the late summer of 2010. He created a value-oriented menu and provided systems to ensure speedy service. He purchased the equipment and leased the Kawaihae restaurant space. After some minor renovations, grass roots marketing and $80 left in the bank, he opened the doors on November 16, 2010. The restaurant prides itself on the fact that the food prepared at Kohala Burger and Taco is of the highest quality, hormone and antibiotic-free grass fed beef and sustainable fresh fish, fresh baked bread and Big Island made tortillas.
The Paniolo Burger
“I created a restaurant that provides approachable, top quality food, and a great value with accurate and speedy service,“ explains Chef Cary. Kohala Burger & Taco is the culmination of my years of operating restaurants, honing my culinary skills and creating a cuisine all of my own, where handcrafted burgers are an art, fresh fish tacos and chocolate malts work perfectly together and stepping into my restaurant is an experience.”