Customized Burgers at The Counter

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The Counter at Kahala Mall is a build-your-own burger joint that used to have Hawaii Five-0’s Daniel Dae Kim as part-owner. Although he’s since sold his share in the company, The Counter continues to be the buzz in the burger biz.

By “build-your-own,” customers customize their burger via a simple checklist. From choosing the type of burger (beef, chicken, turkey and vegan veggie) to choosing your own cheese and bun, there are a wide variety of choices to pick. Don’t forget about their gluten-free options. There’s a special menu for that.

Customers could also turn their burger into a salad, which I do. Usually, I get the vegan veggie salad with grilled pineapples, dried cranberries and apricot sauce. Despite not having my burger paired with a bun, I never hesitate to get a side of sweet potato fries. They’re served crispy and piping hot.

Sweet potato fries are a hit with burger lovers.

Be careful not to get too carried away with checking off items. The burgers start at $10.50, so it’s easy to walk away with a $20 bill. Yes, $20 for a burger. That’s why I don’t come here as often, but if I want a healthy salad or am craving a juicy eat, I bite the bullet before the burger.

The restaurant opened in 2009 under the ownership of D.K. Kodama of Sansei and D.K. Steak House, Daniel Dae Kim of Lost at the time and Chuck Furuya as the wine consultant. There’s a sleek bar in the burger joint that specializes in milkshake cocktails, but customers may choose to sit at tables as well.

Be prepared to wait when you go. As I mentioned earlier, The Counter is always packed with people. This means longer waits to be seated and to get your food. Once, we ordered a beef burger, veggie patty salad and a half order of sweet potato fries. The fries came out pretty quickly, but our burgers took about 45 minutes. Needless to say, our fries were long gone by then, so we had to order more when the burgers came.

To avoid the wait and crowds, I’d recommend going for an early lunch or get it to go.

Photo Courtesy (first): @CounterBurger

THE COUNTER CUSTOM BUILT BURGERS • Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816 • Opens Mon-Th, Sun 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm • 808-739-5100 •

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