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Maverick is the First Place to Go for Burgers in Naha!
post : 2019.01.20 10:00
Okinawa is certainly full of delicious American food! That may be a well-known fact. Among the wonderful tastes of America, the hamburgers remain to be one of the most popular. There are many burger shops around the prefecture, all in pursuit of the best burger and many of them with their original recipes. A good number of the burger shops have a large following of customers not just in Okinawa, but from mainland Japan.
In this article, I’d like to introduce an up-and-coming burger shop, Maverick! Since its opening in October 2017, at the corner on Harborview Street, it’s been the talk of the town and people are talking about their great lineup of food and their interior, which is like an American style bar.
The number one killer menu they offer is their Avocado Bacon Cheeseburger (1,000 yen for the burger, 1,400 yen with a drink. All prices mentioned in this article include tax.). The first thing you’ll notice is the thickness of the burger, which literally towers at over 15 centimeters. Each layer adds to the overall deliciousness. The white of buns and the brown of the meats (patty and bacon), the red tomato, green of the vegetables, and the yellow of the cheese. This colorful work of art is great to look at and wonderful to eat.
Another item that’s just as popular is their Bacon, Egg and Cheese (1,050 for the burger, 1,500 yen for the set). Just like the Avocado Bacon Cheeseburger, the Bacon, Egg and Cheese is tall and handsome, but it’s also smarter-looking. With the simple white and yellow colors, the vivid green of the healthy vegetables, this burger is attractive and tempting. Like the Avocado Bacon Cheeseburger, the taste is great, too! The simple yet unique addition of the egg guarantees the enjoyment, and the cheese adds depth to the taste. You won’t regret ordering this one.
Besides burgers, Maverick offers Shima Buta Chorizo Hot Dog (700 yen each, 1,150 as a set), which is popular with the regulars. The hot dogs are made with local pork, or Shima Buta, which also is blended with Shima Togarashi, or local hot peppers. Regular hot dog wieners are about 40 grams, but the dogs at Maverick is specially made at 70 grams. At about 15 centimeters in length, it sticks out on both sides of the hot dog bun, and is 3 centimeters thick! The punch from this dynamite dog will knock you out. With ketchup, mustard, onion chip flavoring, and pickles on top, it’s sure to satisfy any appetite. The thick and juicy chorizo that has just the right amount of kick, and the vinegar of the pickles go together so well for an excellent taste. It’s no wonder people keep coming back for their hot dogs.
The owner, Kota Yamakawa, shares with me in his friendly demeanor, “I’ve been doing everything in my own style, feeling things out as I go along, and not learning from anyone. I think I’ve only recently found the ways, finally.” He started Maverick through his experiences (not as a chef, but) as a bartender, and just as the name of his shop, he truly is a maverick. “At the shop, the gas wasn’t connected until two days before the actual opening. To tell you the truth, we didn’t get to test our first burger until then,” Kota tells me with a chuckle. “So I feel bad for the customers who came in the early stages of our opening…” His wife, Asuka, who has a lovely smile, says it took them a year until they were completely satisfied with the taste of the burgers. The couple and their shop are free of all the fuss and appearances and very down to earth, which is definitely one of the charms of Maverick.
“We both love to travel, and twice a year, we go to different places and while on our travels, we go around eating delicious foods. We’ve always loved burgers and while in the States, the home of hamburgers, we visited a great number of shops and enjoyed many delicious burgers.” Inspired by the great diversity in tastes of the burgers in Japan and abroad, they searched and found ingredients and methods of preparation that they thought were best. Together with finding the best ingredients and their production areas and how they are prepared, they are enthusiastic about creating their menu, too. Their patties are made of 100% Aussie beef, and they said, “The timing on the grill is something that we’ve recently mastered (laughs). There’s that specific moment when the fat is drained and the patty is grilled to perfection. And as for the cheese and bacon, we ordered different types from various places, and finally found those that are truly delicious. The cost is pretty heavy on us (chuckles), but we can’t cut corners on the taste…”
What’s especially notable are their buns, the foundation of all their menu items. They get their buns from the French-style bakery, Imai Pan, with shops in Naha City. The buns are specially made to order and are “crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and they’re just right. It has a slightly sweet and familiar taste, like loaves of bread we eat at home.” True, the homely tasting “foundation” may be the secret why there are so many repeat customers to their shop, even after only a year since their opening.
“But it’s not like we have strong, set ways of doing things,” Kota says in his carefree way, but then he adds, “Oh, yeah. No matter how busy we are, though, I never make our food in a mechanical sort of way. I make sure that they are made with care, each and every order we get. When my staff ask if something is ok, I tell them to not serve it to the customer if they’re not completely confident with what they’ve made, but to discard it and try it again.” That’s why it takes about ten minutes (to grill after the order is placed) to serve. “I initially intended to open a bar, so we have a great lineup of drinks, too (chuckles). Of course, we also make our food to go,” Kota says, and when I asked what’s next for him, he shares, “I want to add more to the lineup of hot dogs and also want to try Cuban sandwiches, so stay tuned!”
A casual and friendly burger shop that you can enjoy alcohol during the day. The interior is cool and photogenic for your SNS, and the burgers and hot dogs are original and tasty. The owners and their personalities and approach to the business are also great! Maverick is now a proud landmark in Sobe, Naha, and the first place to go for burgers (as you can see from their address!). Don’t pass up your chance to visit Maverick when in the city!
Address: 1-1-1 Sobe, Naha City, Okinawa
Business Hours: Mon-Thu. 11:00-22:00, Fri & Sat Until 23:00, Sun Until 17:00
*Prices current as of November 2018.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Kiwamu Ogawa (Qey Word)