Where can you go for a bite of local, grass-fed beef? Village Burger in Waimea serves antibiotic-free pasture-raised Big Island beef from the Hawaii Ranchers Association, select cuts of which the chef/owner, Edwin Goto, grinds and grills daily. You can also get mouthwatering burgers made of Wagyu (Kobe-style) beef raised by nearby Kahua Ranch, Hawaiian Red Veal, Asian-style Ahi, and vegetarian burgers made from Hamakua Mushrooms and Waipio Taro.
Burgers come with crisp local lettuce from Kekela Farms and sweet, juicy red tomatoes from Nakono Farms, atop handcrafted, just-baked brioche buns from Holy’s Bakery. An older woman who had long ago worked at the Parker Ranch said she hadn’t tasted a hamburger so good in 30 years.
Before starting Village Burger last April, Goto was an Executive Chef at such exclusive venues as the Lodge at Koele, where he served Bill Gates and 50 friends a wedding rehearsal dinner, the Manele Bay, and five restaurants at the Mauna Lani.
Why start a burger joint? “It just made sense,” said Goto. “The Big Island has the best raw product – good, local beef, and fresh produce grown right here. I knew the combination of local products would be good.” Village Burger also features shakes and sundaes with Tropical Dreams Ice Cream (made one mile away) topped with Waimea’s Rincon strawberries.
“I just feel good about this business, a small business supporting other small local businesses,” said Goto. Village Burger has developed a steady stream of regular customers, which has helped their suppliers expand. For instance, Holy’s Bakery, a Hawi institution for the past 80 years, has purchased a new van and hired several new employees to make the large amount of delicious buns served at Village Burger.
Village Burger is located in the Parker Ranch Shopping Center in Waimea. For a scenic video illustrating their dedication to local cuisine, see www.villageburgerwaimea.com.