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The double bacon cheeseburger meal set from Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin, a luxury burger spot in Chatan town, Okinawa.

The double bacon cheeseburger meal set from Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin, a luxury burger spot in Chatan town, Okinawa. (Frank Andrews/Stars and Stripes)

Summer on Okinawa brought more mom-and-pop and father-and-son restaurants out of hiding and back to business.

Thank goodness, because I found a luxury burger spot – the Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin in Chatan town – that rekindled its griddle in July after 2½ years of COVID-19 closure.

This burger shop is special because its beef and other ingredients are sourced from Ishigaki, a small island south of Okinawa that is famous worldwide for its premium-quality beef, or “tokusen Ishigaki gyu” in Japanese.

Ishigaki beef comes from fattened black cattle bred in Okinawa. It’s a higher-grade meat with marbled fat that gives you a melt-in-your-mouth kind of experience.

The Island Kitchen has three burgers to choose from: bacon, avocado and mozzarella. Each costs about 1,430 yen (about $9.90). Make it a double for another 550 yen; add a side of fries, onion rings or homemade potato chips and a drink for 480 yen.

The double bacon cheeseburger from Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin, a luxury burger spot in Chatan town, Okinawa.

The double bacon cheeseburger from Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin, a luxury burger spot in Chatan town, Okinawa. (Frank Andrews/Stars and Stripes)

I ordered at the counter, sat at a table in the back and within five minutes my double bacon cheeseburger meal set had arrived. The meat and melted cheese were perfect. The cheese and buns are homemade, and you can taste the freshness with each bite.

There is self-serve soft ice cream made with ginger and imported from Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. The self-serve drink bar has tea, coffee, juices; bottled beers are available on request.

The restaurant has inside seating at four tables that each seat four. More seating is available outside.

Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin in Chatan town, Okinawa, sources its ingredients from Ishigaki, a small island south of Okinawa that is famous worldwide for its premium quality beef.

Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin in Chatan town, Okinawa, sources its ingredients from Ishigaki, a small island south of Okinawa that is famous worldwide for its premium quality beef. (Frank Andrews/Stars and Stripes)

The burger shop is a father-and-son operation that they named for their home island. The son, Eito Arashiro, 33, graduated from high school on Ishigaki and moved with his father to Chatan, where they opened the burger place in 2007.

Most of the customers are Japanese tourists followed by Americans on Okinawa with the U.S. military. A few locals patronize the shop, too, he said.

Be prepared to get your hands messy. These burgers are tall and ooze with toppings.

Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin in Chatan town, Okinawa, is a father-and-son operation that they named for their home island.

Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin in Chatan town, Okinawa, is a father-and-son operation that they named for their home island. (Frank Andrews/Stars and Stripes)

Ishigaki Island Kitchen Bin

Location: 11-21, Chatan 1-Chome Chatan, Nakagami-gun 904-0116 Okinawa Prefecture

Directions: Just outside Camp Foster’s Gate No. 2 and across from Araha Beach. Head toward the beach along the road that runs parallel with the water. Look for the big yellow building.

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Closed Tuesday.

Dress: Casual

Information: Phone: 098-936-7587; Online: kitchenbin.on.omisenomikata.jp and Facebook.com/ishigakijimakitchenBin. Phone orders and takeaway are available.

author picture
Frank Andrews is a reporter at Camp Foster, Okinawa. He’s an alumnus of the Defense Information School and University of Maryland University College. His previous Navy assignments have taken him to Iraq, Bahrain, Diego Garcia, Japan, South Korea and Naval Special Warfare Command in California.

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