Take a Bite

Mahaloha now open in Kailua

April 23rd, 2015
PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comMahaloha Burger's blue cheese bacon combo is $7.25 for a single patty, and $8.25 for a double.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Mahaloha Burger's blue cheese bacon combo is $7.25 for a single patty, and $8.25 for a double.

After building a career on Hawaii's ninth island — Las Vegas — Jesse Aguinaldo returned home to open his startup, Mahaloha Burger.

His first shop is in Royal Hawaiian Center and he just opened a second branch in Kailua, where Windward diners can now enjoy juicy burgers made with grass-fed Parker Ranch beef, sold in single or double patties, and served on buns grilled in caramelized whipped butter.

The flavors are local through and through, and if the basic burger isn't enough, try the loco moco burger ($6.75 single, $7.75 double). I thought the egg could be bigger, but the gravy and burger itself are excellent.

A Hawaii original goes mobile, the loco moco burger.

A Hawaii original goes mobile, the loco moco burger.

They had me at avocado, $7.25 single, and $8.25 double. With a slice of Swiss cheese.

They had me at avocado, $7.25 single, and $8.25 double. With a slice of Swiss cheese.

Those who don't eat beef, can opt for a turkey burger or mahi sandwich instead, $7.25 each.

Then consider a side of Parmaroni fries ($5.95), combining fries, pepperoni and a sprinkling of condiment-style Parmesan cheese.

The dogs are also delish, this one accompanied by a side of Parmaroni fries, with pepperoni and Parmesan, natch.

The dogs are also delish, this one accompanied by a side of Parmaroni fries, with pepperoni and Parmesan, natch.

Aguinaldo said he returned home for more work/life balance.

"It started 50-50 but now it's creeping up to 60-40," he said of the expansion.

Contemporary "hieroglyphics" give the burger house a Hawaii branded appeal. You just know this concept is going places.

Contemporary hieroglyphics give the burger house a Hawaii branded appeal. You just know this concept is going places.

But he isn't stopping. His next move will be west side, in the Ka Makana Ali'i/The Center for West O‘ahu development, and he's considering other sites before pursuing the Asian market.

The new Mahaloha Burger is at 143 Hekili St., Suite 150. Call (808) 263-2777.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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