Paniolos Burritos Kailua

With their objective of building fast-casual eateries with a focus on fresh, healthy and local ingredients, the owners of Aloha Salads have branched out into serving tacos and burritos. Their new place, Paniolo’s Hawai‘i, opened late last year in Kailua, right next to the flagship Aloha Salads shop, and borrows its concept very conspicuously from Mainland fast-food taco franchise Chipotle. The idea: fresh, healthy, Mexican-inspired dishes.

Paniolo’s sources its ingredients locally, using Big Island grass-fed beef and Island-grown produce, and makes all of its beans (black and pinto), salsas and guacamole in house. Choose whether you want a burrito, tacos or a bowl, pick your filler (white rice, brown rice or field greens), your protein (organic chicken, grilled steak, adobo-marinated steak, kālua pork, grilled veggies or tofu), and your beans (pinto, black or refried), and then top everything off with any or all of the sauces and salsas.

A note of caution: Maybe it was just us, but there’s a serious tendency to get carried away with the toppings and fillings. The prices are not easily visible, so, before you know it, you’re paying $15 for a burrito. Next time, we’ll actually pay attention before asking for everything on everything. And, after trying it all, we settled on our favorite combination: the burrito with white rice, kālua pig, black beans, corn, avocado cream, tomato fresca salsa and guacamole.

Paniolo’s Hawai‘i, 600 Kailua Road, next to Aloha Salads, dishes from $7.95, 261-4291.

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Build your Own Tacos and Burritos at Paniolo's Hawai'i

On the Windward side of Oahu in the Kailua Shopping Center is a restaurant that is committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle one burrito at a time. Paniolos Hawaii serves large customized burritos on a warmed flour tortilla which they heat to order on a special tortilla grill. They also serve tacos on warm corn tortillas and bowls filled with your choice of healthy and delicious items.

You will be asked if you want a burrito, tacos or a bowl. Next you will be asked if you want local grass fed beef from the Big Island which is raised without antibiotics or hormones, organic chicken, organic tofu, local greens, local tomatoes grown on Sinaloa Hawaii farms without the use of pesticides. Their foods are prepared fresh daily and nothing is canned.

You will be asked to add more generous fillings to your taco, burrito or bowl from the below items. If you can’t make up your mind they will allow you to sample items on their menu.

Pick one: Organic chicken, Grilled steak in their lime marinade, Paniolo Steak local cooked with chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, Grilled Veggies peppers and onions, Organic tofu sautéed with chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Pick one: Cilantro lime white rice, cilantro lime brown rice, North Shore field greens. Pick one: Black beans, Pinto beans, Refried beans
Pick one: corn salsa, tomato Fresca. Tomatillo, avocado, or roasted tomato with chipotle peppers.

I give them 5 stars for meeting or exceeding my expectations in the categories of customer service, cleanliness, quality and taste of food and prices. They get a bonus star for promoting local Hawaiian culture.

The Hawaiian cowboy or Paniolo has a long honored tradition in Hawaii dating back to the 1700’s and King Kamehameha I. Hawaiians became expert Paniolo before the territories of the American West had cowboy or ranch traditions. Their teachers were “Espagnol” Mexican Spanish Cowboys; hence the name Paniolo.

Paniolos Restaurant is committed to preserving and promoting this Hawaiian cowboy heritage and furthering the Hawaiian ranching industry made possible because of these generations of Paniolo. They will only serve beef from Hawaii ranchers grass fed and cared for on these beautiful islands.

The menu price ranges from $9.50 to $10.50 plus extra for special toppings like guacamole. They serve chips and salsa. You can dine in and sit at one of the four indoor air conditioned tables or dine outside on the spacious patio.

Located at 600 Kailua Road, phone (808) 261-4291. Hours daily 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. free parking.

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