The Counter: Custom Built Burgers


David and I had lunch at The Counter, a burger restaurant that recently opened in Kahala Mall.  It takes the place of the old Yen King Restaurant.  Here’s the deal:  You have to go in and ask the hostess the wait time for a table.  In our case, she said, “45 minutes.”  If that’s too long a wait, ask her where the take-out counter is.  On the other hand, if you are willing to wait, give her your name, wait outside, and she will call your name when a table is ready. 


The restaurant was packed. 


This is the take-out counter.  We opted for this and stood near the counter to wait for our name to be called.  It took 25 minutes between payment and delivery.  ALWAYS CHECK THE FOOD IN THE BAG BEFORE LEAVING.  We were half-way to our car when I decided to check the bag.  It was missing one burger and one fries.  We returned to the counter, and they quickly filled the rest of our order.  Humbug!  On our way back to the car, we found an empty table and decided to eat there.  We bought a diet Coke and bottled water from Cinnabon, which was nearby.


I chose one of the Signature Burgers:  A Counter Burger, $10.95, which consisted of  2/3 lb 100% freshly ground Angus beef, raised on a vegetarian diet without hormones or antibiotics.  This burger came with Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onion strings, sauteed mushrooms, and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.  The burger had so much flavor, I didn’t use the vinaigrette.


David custom built his own burger.  The burgers range in price from $8.95 for 1/3 lb, to $10.95 for 2/3 lb, and to $13.95 for 1 lb.  He chose the 2/3 lb beef burger, Jalapeno jack cheese, grilled onions, grilled pineapple, lettuce blend, spicy pepperoncinis, and honey mustard sauce.  All on a honey wheat bun.  David loved it!  He said it was very juicy and was better than the burger he had at Kua Aina, the burger shop where President Obama left a $40 tip.


Fried dill pickle chips, $4.95.  The coating was sweet, while the pickles gave it a kick.  The dip was sweet-sour sauce.  Winner!


The Fifty-Fifty:  Sweet potato fries and  onion strings, $6.50.  The three dips consisted of BBQ sauce, ranch, and thousand islands.  Excellent!  

The burgers were delicious!  Besides beef, you can order turkey, veggie, or grilled chicken.  They also serve sandwiches and desserts as well as a kid’s menu.  But two words of advice:  (1)  Go there after 2 months, when the excitement dies down and the wait time is more reasonable; and (2) ALWAYS check your order before you leave the take-out counter.

20 Responses to “The Counter: Custom Built Burgers”

  1. LizKauai Says:

    Mmmm. I can just taste these scrumptious foods in my imagination! Looks like my favorite Burgerville (PNW area) has a serious competitor!

    Thanks, gigi.

  2. wafan Says:

    Yum! Burgers!!! When you come up to Washington and are in my area you have to try a little shack called Norma’s. It is the home of John Wayne Burger. Story is that John Wayne did, in fact, stop and buy a burger with everything on it. It certainly does have everything on it! Waaaaay to much food for me. I usually get the mushroom burger.

    The best fries are at Sam’s. Another little food place. They serve crinkle cut fries. Crunchy and not too salty. Good stuff!

    Of course, there is always Red Robin’s! Ask I Believe about that place! Liz? Where is she? Is IB okay?

  3. wafan Says:

    Liz . . .

    I used to like Burgerville until I ate at Norma’s. Seriously. I have eaten at Norma’s in every season of the year. When you see the place you will understand why that would tend to make me a fanatic of the place. About 6 seats inside and the rest are outside. The people I have taken there think I am crazy until they try the burgers. Yum! Hmmmm, maybe dinner there sometime this week.

  4. gigihawaii Says:


    The Counter offers 100% freshly ground Angus beef, raised on a vegetarian diet without hormones or antibiotics. How about Norma’s?

  5. Musings Says:

    Oh Yuuuuuuuum! This looks soooo delicious! I’ll have to try to remember this place if we’re ever out there.

  6. wafan Says:

    I do not know about the vegitarian fed and hormoneless (is that even a word?) beef but the patty’s are hand formed and are absolutely delicious! Juicy no end! Yum!!!

    From what I can tell of the Counter they are a little more expensive than Norma’s.

  7. gigihawaii Says:

    Sounds like the burgers at Norma’s are made fresh, not frozen. I think that’s the real key to a delicious burger!

  8. Travis Erwin Says:

    I don’t know about the pineapple but the rest of it looks quite tasty.

  9. LizKauai Says:

    Norma is my sister’s name. Norma is an excellent cook. I’ll remember that name. I am making a variation of chile verde for dinner tonight.

    Another hour and a few mins til sunset. I’ll start on the fresh flour tortillas (Costco) in a few mins.

  10. gigihawaii Says:

    Give us your recipe for CHILE VERDE, Liz! And how do you prepare the tortillas?

  11. sylvia Says:

    Oh, that sounds so yummy! Hmmm! Sounds as though a good time was had, that’s all that matters! Have a good week!

  12. LizKauai Says:

    Recipe- mm. This was one of those freestyle recipes. Ingredients- boneless country pork ribs (there’s an oxymoron!) from Costco- a little over a pound, perhaps, rough cut into 1/2 cubes.
    1 large can whole green chiles.
    2 fresh jalapeno peppers
    1 round onion- sliced.
    1 bunch fresh cilantro
    1 can chicken broth

    salt, pepper, oregano, pinch cloves

    I browned the meat and onions, added the other ingredients and simmered until very soft.

    Served on freshly-cooked tortillas with cheese, cilantro, chopped lettuce, burrito style.

    Note on the tortillas- I either make from scratch or get the uncooked flour tortillas from Costco. Two inner packs come in the single package. I freeze one for another time.
    Heat tortillas on ungreased hot griddle or large frying pan on med-high heat. A few brown spots on either side and some good puffing up makes the best tortillas, imho. I press gently on them with a folded paper towel that acts as a pad.

  13. gigihawaii Says:

    Sounds very spicy. Don’t know if David will go for the heat. But I’ll try the recipe next Sunday and see what happens. Thanks, Liz.

  14. wafan Says:

    Jalapenos? A little bit of heat is okay. But if you feel it on the way down and on the way out that is waaaay too much. Last time I had anything that was really hot and spicy was in San Antonio. I could not taste anything and my mouth was on fire. I did not even try to swallow it.

    Talk about sweating!!! WOW.

  15. LizKauai Says:

    gigi- spice it to taste. Add the heat as you go. Or have a bottle of hot sauce ready on the side and just use the mild green chilis.

  16. LizKauai Says:

    Hey, gigi- talk about a blast from the past! A Facebook friend from Finland just posted this from 1974

  17. M Says:

    I will wait for the crowd to die down before I check this place out.

  18. gigihawaii Says:

    Liz, is that YOU in the picture???? WOW!

  19. LizKauai Says:

    Yup – “back in the day”. We are singing my favorite song. Liz Damon was interested in doing “Soul Catcher” at one time – at least her manager was 🙂

    Around this time we opened for Seals and Crofts and England Dan and John Ford Coley at the Shell. Singing in front of 10K people is a RUSH!

  20. Marilee K. Shigematsu Says:

    Great to hear of The Counter serving healthy meats, but fried pickle chips – strange.

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