Village Burger is best

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<p>The Lindners and their family, as well as local community members, celebrate the completion of the couple’s “Best Burger Joints” quest initiated from a USA Today article. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>
<p>The group poses for a photo in front of Village Burger in Parker Center. From left back, Logan Sankey, Joe Lindner, Edwin Goto, Doris Lindner, Terri and Tim Richards, Danny and Anna Akaka. From left, kneeling, is Kevin, Colton, Nolan and Laura Sankey. PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON | SPECIAL TO NHN</p>
<p>Joe Lindner takes the first bite of his burger. For more event photos, visit the North Hawaii News website at northhawaiinews.com. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>
<p>Edwin and Dore Goto of Village Burger enjoy the visit. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>
<p>Joe Lindner serves Tim Richards and Jan Dean a complimentary burger at the event. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

“I’m absolutely honest with you; that little burger is absolutely the best of all 51,” said Joe Lindner, who visited Waimea’s Village Burger for the grand finale of a two-year, cross-country trek to all of USA Today’s “Great Burger Joints” in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Lindner and wife Doris, retired doctors from Hilton Head Island, S.C., started their “burger journey” at Park Burger in Denver when the story came out in 2010, and were inspired to travel and taste them all.

Their adventure included an extra flight to Anchorage before and after an Alaska cruise (the burger joint was closed first time around), a 101-mile detour in Nebraska (each way), and 49 other burger stories, some good and some not so much—all well-documented in big binders that the Lindners put together for their grandchildren. Visiting Village Burger with couple were daughter Laura Sankey, her husband Kevin, their daughter Logan, and sons Colton and Nolan Sankey, all visiting the Big Island for the first time.

At the event, Bobby Command read an official proclamation from Mayor Billy Kenoi that began, “Whereas Village Burger Waimea is a sizzling example that sustainable local products are perfectly suited for the creation of decadent epicurean masterpieces …” and continued “The result of supporting local business and agriculture is your version of a Hawaii Island style, broke-da-mouth, All-American sandwich.” The mayor then proclaimed April 26, 2013, as “Joe and Doris Lindner Family Day in Hawaii County.”

Additionally, Patti Cook presented an official Hawaii State Senate Proclamation on behalf of Senator Malama Solomon, and thanked Goto for supporting Mala’ai Garden at Waimea Middle School by serving their student-grown herbal tea in the restaurant. Joining the festivities were more than 50 community members, including Kahua Ranch patriarch Monty Richards and his son, Tim Richards, “beef ambassador” for the Hawaii Beef Industry Council, along with numerous other farmers, food providers and fans of Goto’s “low mileage” approach to popular cuisine.

In concurrent celebration of the restaurant’s third anniversary (It had just opened when food writer Joan Namkoong recommended Village Burger to USA Today), Kaniela and Anna Akaka led a traditional blessing ceremony and the untying of maile lei by Goto and Lindner. After, the gathering was treated to music and hula, and delicious mini-burgers, with fresh local toppings and lots of extra aloha.

For more information about the restaurant, visit www.villageburgerwaimea.com.