So it’s 4am in rainy Hilo, you’re partied out, and you got major munchies. Where to go? “Ken’s!”, you may say. Others say, “Verna’s!”
I lived in Hilo all this time and only recently, with the guidance of some friends (I’m a sheltered boy), did I realize that Verna’s is open 24 hours on weekend nights. This experience really opened my eyes… finally some variety after midnight on the weekends!
Verna’s is located right across Ken’s on the other side of the street corner.
Another picture during the day:
At this hour there were a bunch of rowdy people hanging out in the parking lot, possibly eating some Verna’s food, and a few people ordering and waiting for their food.
Here are the menus posted on the front window (click to zoom). They get some real local kine grindz!
I was advised that the teri burgers are good here, which made me overjoyed since I love teri burgers. Teri burger ($1.70) it is!
I’m not sure if it was the beer, but this burger tasted simply amazing! The burger patty was nice and thick, cooked just right, very moist and tender, and the teriyaki flavor went throughout all of the meat like they marinated it. Just the right amount of mayo and one piece of lettuce was applied to the burger, which worked really well. The bun was nice and soft, soaking up all the teri-goodness. Only thing that would make this burger better was if it was flame-broiled.
I also managed to steal some fries. Hey, it’s some fries and a shaka.
Fries are to a teri burger like rice is to pork adobo. They are essential to have together! Although these fries were good, they could’ve been more crisp on the outside. I wasn’t complaining though.
After a great teri burger experience, I had to come back to Verna’s to try some of their other food…
Verna’s Loco Moco ($2.95)
I had high hopes on this one, especially since the guy in front of me ordered two loco mocos. Unfortunately, this loco moco was very bad. The burger was overcooked, and somewhat dry, with not much flavor. The gravy was very basic, too salty, and uninspiring. The egg was overcooked (the yolk was partially hardened). The rice was slightly overcooked too. Bummers.
Chicken Katsu ($5.70)
This was a different style of chicken katsu, which uses a different kind of breading, more similar to fried chicken. It tasted good, but it felt like I was eating cut up chicken patties instead. On the plus side, the chicken was moist and flavorful. The sauce was also ok – not too sweet. I don’t think I would order this again, just because I prefer panko breading.
Kamuela Special ($5.95)
The Kamuela Special consists of fried noodles with teri beef and mac salad. Nice concept, but the noodles tasted a bit bland and the teri beef was too sweet and over-flavored. The mac salad was not bad, though.
So, what’s the verdict? Ken’s or Verna’s? That’s a tough one since I have more eating experiences at Ken’s. It also depends on what you want to eat. Burgers? Verna’s. Loco Moco? Ken’s. Low on cash? Verna’s! Want real local style drive inn food? Verna’s.
I’m sure Verna’s has a lot more to offer than the dishes I’ve tried, and I will definitely go back for the teri burger and other offerings.
Verna’s Drive In
1765 Kamehameha Ave
Hilo HI 96720