Bubba’s: Burgers, yes, and much more

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Old signs line the wall at Bubba Burgers.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    The interior of Bubba Burgers in Kappa is relaxed and bright.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    A cook lines the grill with burgers on a busy afternoon.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    A Kauai Burger is ready to be eaten.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Fries at Bubba Burger come out hot and fresh.

Since we recently moved to Kapaa, the go-to place has become Bubba Burgers. It’s ironic, really, because I was never that big of a fan before. But now that we live nearby, and we’ve tried it several times, I love it.

Here’s why.

Good vibes

It’s just a nice, friendly place. They greet you with a smile, scribble your order on paper, the old-school method, and shout your name when it’s ready. No wait staff here. Stand in line to order and pick it up yourself. The employees are not always the most talkative in the world, but that’s generally because they’re slammed and a line of customers is waiting out the door. It’s casual and relaxed, a good spot to take your time, talk story, do some people-watching from the front porch and enjoy life. The ocean is within sight, as is a short walk on Ke Ala Hele Makalae to work off some of the calories you just added.

Good sense of humor

“Bubba refuses to serve any burger costing less than a can of dog food,” says a message posted above the grill. And the golden M with a slash through it is impossible to miss. A challenge to the big guy.

Their logo includes the words, “We Relish Your Buns,” and “We Cheat Tourist Drunk & Attorneys.” Ask them to explain.

Good food

The basics begin with the Bubba Burger. For $4, it’s fine. Can’t go wrong. A solid burger. But for a little more, you can do better.

The Kauai Burger is everything you need a burger to be. The Double Bubba, $6, will fill you up. The Teriyaki Burger for $4.35 is already a favorite of ours. If you’re really hungry, go with the Double Slopper. It’s described as an “Open faced double patty burger, smothered with Bubba’s Famous ‘Coors Tavern’ Chili.”

Their burgers are not greasy, just as billed.

Now, you’ll be needing some sides. Go with the fries, always hot, crispy and fresh. The Caesar salad, at $4.25, is a good deal. The banana shake was excellent. Soda refills are 50 cents.

All told, for two of us, our bill was about $20. That includes a Kauai Burger, a Teriyaki Burger, fries, shake and salad. Not too many places you’ll find that, with an ocean view to boot.

One caution: It’s easy to eat too many Bubba Burgers.

Good decor

Bubba’s has an old-time appeal, with bar stools so you can cozy up and watch the cook in action. They’ll chat with you if they’re not overseeing 15 burgers on the grill and a line of orders waiting behind them. Soak in the vibes of this place. It’s a bit iconic.

Take a look around when you’re inside and out. There are some cool old signs and pictures. Good energy.

Good merchandise

Shirts, shorts, visors and hats are available near the door. There’s even a sale rack. And, to make the deal sweeter, they offer a free soda if you’re wearing one of their outfits on your visits.

There is more than one Bubba Burgers on Kauai. Another opened in 2009 at Kukuiula Village. It, too, has that same sense of fun, bright and light to match its fine fare. Not quite as a good a view, though, as Bubba’s in Kapaa.

Bottom line, eat at Bubba’s. Tell them The Garden Island sent you.


Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of TGI. He can be reached at bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

  1. PauloT April 20, 2018 8:12 am Reply

    All these years and I’ve never been, now I will. With our sadness about about the flooding overriding everything, it was good to read a happy hamburger story. Pray for sun.

  2. flubbabubba April 20, 2018 8:20 am Reply

    Sorry, disagree here. Went once in the 12 years I lived there. I don’t think 10 dollars for a snack that tastes mediocre at best is a deal.

    1. Matthew Cooper April 20, 2018 8:51 pm Reply

      Can you give any more details? Seems like your expectations were too high and you set yourself up to be dissapointed. What was this 10 dollar SNACK you mention? Must have been more than a snack since the burgers cost less than that.

      1. flubbabubba April 21, 2018 3:02 pm Reply

        Details? I was being nice leaving them out.
        The burger was tiny, plain, tasted like cardboard. The order of fries was small, soggy and tasted like grease. The drink was normal. All for 10$ including tax and tip. For 10$ I expect to at least not be looking for a place to eat after I get my order, yes, a snack.
        For a place that specializes in hamburgers it is a total fail.
        When I find a restaurant that has good food I always go back, again and again. Price is not the main issue, but quality and consistency is.
        Sorry, call em and I see eat em.

  3. ikudias April 20, 2018 7:31 pm Reply

    Don’t do it Paulot – too many other places to eat good burgers…….or tacos if you’re in El Kapaa

  4. Commonsense April 22, 2018 3:22 pm Reply

    I would have to disagree. First tried it about 10 or 11 years ago because I thought, ‘How can you go wrong with a burger for under $4.00?’ Well, I was very disappointed. The burger was very plain, no seasoning and had a strange taste. I’ve had grass fed before so I knew what to expect. We had visitors about 6 years ago that wanted to try Bubba’s, so we went. Nobody was impressed and once again, the burger didn’t taste very good. About a year ago I decided to give them another chance since I was in Kapa’a. Unfortunately got the same result.

    I give them credit for making an inexpensive burger, but they aren’t that good and definitely do not live up to the hype. Sorry Bubba.

  5. Robin smith May 11, 2018 10:56 am Reply

    We go every year when we are there. It is a good place to go on way home from beaches… The Burger and onion rings are great. Definitely recommend

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