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Duane’s Ono Char Burger is a Kaua‘i classic

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Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2011 11:30 pm

When you’re in the mood for a good solid burger with tons of tasty fixings, pay a visit to Duane’s Ono Char Burger in Anahola. This classic Kaua‘i burger joint got its start in 1975 and the place is still as popular as ever with locals and visitors alike.

Boasting over 14 different burgers on its menu, the combination possibilities are still endless.

“People can get anything they want on their burger,” said Leilani Cord, who has been the restaurant’s owner since 1988 along with her husband, Robert “Rip” Cord. “We encourage people to get their burger the way they like it.”

Homemade teriyaki sauce and bleu cheese are some of the tasty fixings available along with grilled pineapple, grilled onions, mushrooms and fresh avocado when available.

Cord recommends getting the teriyaki and blue cheese together. She said the flavors compliment each other and create one tasty burger.

Each beef patty is seasoned with Leilani’s sea salt blend, made exclusively for Ono Char and then flame-grilled to burger-heaven perfection.

French fries, onion rings or fresh green salad all make good side options. Ono shakes, floats and fresh fruit smoothies are also available to cure your sweet craving.

Ono Char Burger has been the talk of many publications over the years from Bon Appetit, in 1995, and Sunset, in 2007, to The Los Angeles Times travel section, in 2008, and even a couple Japanese travel guides.

The outdoor seating area is nicely shaded and a perfect place to sit and enjoy your meal.

One of the publications listed the wild chickens in the outdoor seating area as a nuisance. But if you’ve ever been anywhere on Kaua‘i, you should be used to them. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t going anywhere!

When asked what makes Ono Char such a special place, Cord said it’s a family business. Five out of nine employees are related and the others have worked together so long that they are like family, so the faces customers see are always friendly and familiar.

“ Most of our employees have worked here for over 15 years,” Cord said.

The staff owes much appreciation to their regular customers, which also includes many visitors who stop by whenever they are on Kaua‘i, Cord said.

“We love our regulars,” Cord said. “We wouldn’t survive without them.”

So what is it that makes Duane’s Ono Char Burger so special?

I think it is probably a combination of the friendly, familiar service and the great flame-grilled burgers with endless topping options. In any case, it is worth the trip, and will definitely cure your burger craving.

Duane’s Ono Char Burger is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. 

Call 822-9181 for more information. 

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