Big Kahunas Cafe & Grill

Get a taste of the islands in Merrimack



Inside Big Kahunas Cafe & Grill

Ask who the Big Kahuna is, and husband-and-wife team Amanda and John-Paul Spooner point to each other. The both bring island lore and recipes to their restaurant from the far reaches of Java, Hawaii and the Caribbean. Their food options are health-oriented, locally sourced and mindful of Mother Earth. John-Paul says, “They call it a New Age mentality, but really, we are reaching back to the traditional ways of our ancestors.”

Big Kahunas Cafe and Grill is a two-part operation. The café offers choices for vegans, Paleo dieters and those on a gluten-free diet, with a menu including breakfast and burger bowls and a host of other choices with variations of presentation to fit any dietary need. Comfy couches offer seating in the simple, California beach shack-inspired space. Occasionally, they host musicians to make it a community-centered space complemented with local art and crafts.

The other side of Kahunas is island-inspired catering, which has drawn fans from around the region, including the local island of Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts. One of their specialties is an authentic Hawaiian Luau, complete with a pig roasted in an earth oven or imu. “We do this with respect for the animal that is sacrificed,” says John-Paul. A local seventh-generation farmer feeds the pigs on organic scraps from the café. The whole process is handled as it has been for 5,000 years on the Hawaiian Islands. It starts with an herb bath and ends with a prayer. Each stone that lines the pit is hand-selected to survive the overnight roasting process. Staff is onsite for several days to oversee the cooking. The pig is, in effect, steamed and is gelatinous when served, but Spooner says, “The flavor is unmatched.”

Kahunas also roasts pigs above-ground. Spooner says he enjoys how different cultures feast on an animal, saying, “Latinos send in their elders first, so they can enjoy the prized, crispy skin.”

Side dishes for their island feasts can also include jasmine rice steamed in banana leaves, an authentic Hawaii mac salad and a tropical fruit display. Other choices include island-style BBQ pulled pork and beef rendang. See the family recipe for the latter here.

More reviews and looks at NH restuarants

Playing With Food at The Culinary Playground

The Culinary Playground in Derry unlocks the fun of cooking in their classes for both kids and adults.

Sonny's Tavern

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the Taco Way

Check out the Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge (aka the world's largest taco tour)

Dover’s Chapel + Main: A new twist on a Kittery favorite

The owner of The Black Birch in Maine is about to unveil a new restaurant in downtown Dover.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. John Gilbert Winant: The Most Important NH Man You Never Knew
    You've heard of our famous former governor, but what do you really know about his illustrious...
  2. The Other Mountain Club
    The Randolph Mountain Club, with its low-key, bare-bones approach to outdoorsmanship, keeps...
  3. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the Taco Way
    Check out the Hippo de Mayo Taco Challenge (aka the world's largest taco tour)
  4. Summer Guide for Adventure and Outdoors Lovers
    This summer we want you to get outside and choose your own adventure
  5. Big Kahunas Cafe & Grill
    Stop in for a taste of the islands, or try their catering service for a tropical feast at your...
  6. The NH State Library Celebrates 300 Years
    One of New Hampshire's many "firsts" marks a major milestone this year.
  7. Now Is the Perfect Time For Education and Career Advancement
    For many, the arrival of summer means sun, sand, surf and longer days — yet it can also mean...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags