Is it possible to bite into a burger that’s decadent and wholesome at the same time? It is at Pono Burger, the new, Hawaiian-accented Westside gem that’s making people think twice about what a burger can be. From the outside, you might not know what to make of it, as LA’s hottest new burger place is located in a fully-remodeled, corrugated steel quonset hut. But when you enter this eclectic joint, with its blue wire chairs and photos of beach life on the walls, you’ll find an atmosphere that’s light, airy, and fun–perfect for trying something new. It almost feels like a barn, which makes sense, since everything here represents the very best of the farm, with organic, grass-fed beef and garden fresh vegetables. It’s a perfect place for gathering with friends, either inside the dining room or outside on the sun-drenched patio.
As pleasant as it is, you’re not here for the atmosphere, you’re here for burgers, so take a look at one of the most creative menus in town and get to sampling. Pono offers unique and healthy spins on burgers, with delicious accoutrements like caramelized fig jam and Asian cole slaw. If this is your first visit to Pono, order “The Beef Story.” It’s an artfully-executed version of the classic American burger, with a fresh (never frozen) hormone- and antibiotic-free patty that’s grilled over a wood fire and seasoned with a housemade dry rub that gives it just the right zing.
Those looking for a kick should go for the Kuawa Crunch, with sharp cheddar, organic russet potato chips, and a truly unique spicy guava rum sauce that just might get you talking like a pirate. Your friend with particularly upscale tastes–everybody has one–should proceed directly to the aptly-named Posh burger. With nothing but fancy ingredients, it succeeds in balancing the power of St. Clemens Mycella blue cheese with savory truffle aioli and sauteed mushrooms, creating a burger fit for a Hollywood A-lister.
Start off your meal with some craft beer to prime the palate–a pitcher of hoppy Scrimshaw pilsner is just the thing to pair with your patties–and munch on a couple of baskets of fries organic hand-cut pommes frites as you tell stories of your latest adventures. Better talk fast, though. Before you know it, your sizzling-hot burgers will be delivered to the table and all conversations will fall silent as you feast.
This place clearly has plenty of buzz–it’s never without a stylish crowd–but the friendly wait staff always makes you feel at home. Maybe it’s because it’s just a stone’s throw from the beach, or maybe it’s the whole sustainability ethos, but the Pono experience is blissfully laid back without trying too hard. That’s not surprising, since “pono” means “to do things the right way.” Drop by and experience the right way for yourself.