Sputnik’s Burgers

Sputnik’s Outside

I’ve posted before about Sputnik’s wonderfully soft butter rolls and delicious buttermilk rolls, but never actually went inside until recently. They are also famous for their special burgers. Looks like a research job for Big Island Grinds!

Sputnik’s Inside Sputnik Menu

The menu was written on a dry erase board and had a small selection of plate lunches along with “Sputnik Burgers”. There were a lot of people inside, but mostly waiting for their orders, so I didn’t have to wait long to order.

The sputnik burger selection was Teri Beef, Turkey Ham, and Tuna. We chose a Teri Beef and Turkey Ham. We also ordered a chili bowl just in case the burgers weren’t enough to fill us up.

Sputnik Burger Inside da burgas

Pretty interesting burgers huh? It looks sort of like a baked manapua, but it feels much softer and the filling is spread out more evenly rather than it being all in the center. What a clever idea! It also tasted great. I think the bread made it happen — it was so soft and had a sweet “fresh baked” taste, maybe a little like sweet bread. The fillings also complimented the bread. The teri burger had a filling of finely ground hamburger with a sweet and tangy flavor. The turkey ham one had a nice strong salty ham flavor, finely chopped. Very easy to eat, but not enough! I would need 2 or 3 of these to make a meal. :D Bev did fine with just one though.

I must also note that these burgers also make wonderful omiyage (gifts). You can purchase them in bulk chilled to bring on the plane.

Sputnik’s Chili

We also shared a chili bowl. It was pretty bad actually. Way too sweet — it tasted like sweet relish mixed with meat and beans. It also had way too much rice and just a thin layer of chili. I hate it when places make the chili to rice ratio like 1 part chili 10 parts rice.

While waiting for our order, most people were ordering their plate lunches. They seemed pretty popular. I would come back again to try their plate lunches and definitely come back for more Sputnik Burgers and Butter Rolls! Be warned though, the butter rolls are only available on Friday.

811 Laukapu St. B-10
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-2066

28 Responses to “Sputnik’s Burgers”

  1. kelly Says:

    Da burgah reminds me of one White Castle kine burgah…..

  2. jodi Says:

    I dunno, looks like a cross between a sweet bread and a manapua. But tasty. They have them here too, because of the big filipino population and they’re called siabao (ok–I know I’m spelling that wrong) which is kind of weird because it’s hawaiian sweetbread wrapped around a chinese middle with filipino additions like a hard boiled egg or some potato chunks. (I always pick out the hard-boiled egg. It’s kind of weird.)

  3. The Lou Says:

    Wow, that’s one weird looking burger!

  4. Penny Says:

    James, you’re awesome. I totally agree with the chili to rice ratio. The burgers look so ono, kind of like Itsu’s gravy burger.

    Waaaay back in the day—the best place to get a gravy burger was a restaurant near Ice Pond, in the Hukilau Hotel. This restaurant has changed a thousand times, but in the early 70′s they had burgers that looked like Sputniks.

    Anyone remember this burger place? Or this restaurant that served incredible gravy burgers?

  5. jodi Says:

    No, but I remember the Hukilau. It was like the local hotel where people off county water went to spend the night and take really long showers. :)

  6. Penny Says:

    About the Hukilau–I remember their ono abalone steak, it was the best in town. Also, it was a fun place for summer high school parties : )

  7. kelly Says:

    I tink da hukilau was renamed da Hilo Seaside Hotel…..ICE POND! DAt brings me back to hannahbattah days brah….I remembah jumping off da side of da road all summah!..plus was always spooky foa swim across……used to have one dairy queen up da road foa cool off latah if no moa ice shave man.

  8. Kent Says:

    I remember the abalone steak too! Sooo ono! I think they used to have turtle steak too, before the endangered species ban.
    Ahhh the gravy burgers. Only in Hilo.

  9. Cheryl Says:

    What I like about Sputnik’s is that their kitchen is really clean and they have sanitary habits! I have seen lots of other kitchen restraurants in Hilo and some are so filthy I just won’t eat there anymore.

  10. Shannon Says:

    The place to go for awesome chili is Hirano Store out on the way to volcano. For three bucks, you get a really good meal. Go to volcano and eat it when it’s cold out…the chili is nice and spicy.

  11. LEE Says:




  12. Karen Says:

    The original Sputnik burgers were at Rolf’s House of Sputniks in Hilo in the 1970′s, and they were so ono-licious! We would pick up the cheeseburger with onion Sputniks and take them down to Ice Pond and sit and eat them there because Rolf’s was just a walk-in place, I think on Kaumana Dr. Rolf was actually Swiss, and this was his own invention, based on the Russian pirogis. There was an article about him at the time in the Hilo newspaper. He deep-fried this delicious bread dough and would fill it with loose hamburger meat. I think he retired, and a shop in Kona had Sputniks in the ’80′s but they were never as good, and weren’t freshly made. I still miss them, and I keep saying I’m going to try to make my own one day when I have time…..

  13. BJ MCCollum Says:

    The poriginal Sputnick burgers are tha bom. Sputnicks beef and the bread are so goof and deliciouse. Any one who has not tryed Sputniks is missing out.

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  20. Lpro Says:

    Sputniks in captain Cook-Kona were made fresh, bigger and had more meat and was a lot better tasting. And they were in business in the late 70′s and 80′s.

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  22. Yosh Says:

    I was thinking about Rolf’s sputnik burgers and was just wondering if anyone had a similar burger in Hilo area now? I know this site is really old and thought I would submit a comment anyway and see if I would get a reply. I used to live near Wiliwili/Kaumana Dr. intersection where the Rolfs used to be…Mahalo

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  24. missin Hilo Says:

    Thank you. Remembering eating sputniks at cafe off Kaumana drive brings tears of joy– good times. They were warm, yummy and not expensive. I am so glad someone remembers them too. Good times connected to this treat. Also remember Roberts bakery fresh out of the oven glazed doughnuts after an early morning delivering papers in Waikea Uka.

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    Certainly there are many more fun periods up front for individuals who examine your site. Food will be always on top. by the way what is about the price of these burgers?

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