The Saddle Room is a casual American restaurant located in Waimea on the island of Kauai. This is the ideal place to go when you’re hungry for a thick burger or cut of steak after a long day out exploring the island.
Something that often surprises first-time Hawaii visitors is the undercurrent of a cowboy or western culture. In a place that bills itself as a tropical paradise, cattle ranching and doesn’t often come to mind. But interestingly enough, one might argue that cowboy culture originated in Hawaii itself. That’s because while the Oregon Trail and the rise of western lifestyles really took root in the mid-1800s, the capture of wild cattle on Hawaii (sourced from those brought to the islands in 1793) became permitted by King Kamehameha in 1812. Hawaiians quickly took to riding horses and roping cattle, helping to establish a local beef industry as they developed their own unique cowboy culture and became known as paniolos. The Saddle Club is a restaurant that largely bases itself on this part of Hawaiian history.
From the moment you walk up to The Saddle Club, you will feel like you’re stepping back into time; into an era of cattle and paniolos. The Saddle Club’s partner restaurant, Wrangler’s Steakhouse, is housed within a long barn-like building with the red Saddle Room building on its side boasting architecture reminiscent of an old country store. The main building incorporates a covered front porch that extends down its full length and includes rocking chairs while the red side building has chairs made out of old saddles in its front. The interior decor likewise matches this country’s aesthetic and friendly customer service. There is also a backyard sitting area where guests can enjoy relaxing in an outdoor setting and most days, the kitchen crew will be bustling about this area as they grill up many of the meats served on the menu.
Speaking of the menu, The Saddle Club is very much a meat-heavy restaurant. This place bills itself as a casual Americana dinging spot, which means thick burgers and juicy steaks. The menu here is not that extensive and while you will find a couple of other popular menu items that aren’t based on beef, you probably should avoid this restaurant if you’re vegetarian or otherwise prefer leaner protein meals.
Popular menu items at The Saddle Room include:
Saddle Room Burger.
This thick burger is made from 100% Kauai raised beef, sourced from nearby Ranchers Daughters Reserve. The Saddle Room Burger and other burger items on the restaurant’s menus are all served according to your desired temperature and atop the outside Kawe wood grill. This Saddle Room Burger includes caramelized onions and a specially prepared BBQ sauce and comes served with lettuce, tomatoes, and your choice of normal French fries or garlic fries.
This is a small plate item that’s offered only on The Saddle Room’s dinner menu. It features crispy and tender pork belly topped with sharply deiced tomato and onion and has readily become a local menu favorite.
If you drink, then trying out the cocktails is a must at The Saddle Room. And of all the cocktails, the Moscow Mule here is the best and is readily named the house favorite. This drink is served chilled copper cup with freshly squeezed lime and muddled mint (both of which are also often grown locally).
While this restaurant does not face the ocean, many find that it does offer fantastic sunset views of the surrounding area. As such, you might consider making a reservation for an evening dinner just before sunset on the back patio. Just make sure you do call and reserve as you won’t be the only one wanting to catch the delightful evening sky while sipping on Moscow Mules.