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

Have Your Dessert and Drink it Too

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at an Irish brewery with several creative stouts you won't forget.

Our Favorite Breakfast Spots for Pancake Season

What’s better than enjoying a hotcake drizzled and dripping with real New Hampshire maple syrup at a local pancake house with its own maple syrup facility?

Colcannon Recipe for St. Patrick's Day

Serve this as a main dish or as a side paired with corned beef.

Dinner on Your Doorstep

Local and national meal kit delivery companies are put to the test.

Can You Find Real Barbecue in NH?

Sure thing! If you know where to look. Yes, really. From brisket and pulled pork to coleslaw and collard greens, there’s no need to leave our borders for a taste of the South.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. The State of Solar Power in New Hampshire
    Confused about tariffs, federal incentives or state tax credits? Here's where things currently...
  2. The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy
    Health experts discuss how aromatherapy can be used as complementary medicine.
  3. Bird's-Eye View of A Hawk Migration
    One could argue that when God created the world, he received design specifications from a...
  4. Discovering Campton
    Don't miss out on the historical hidden gems scattered throughout Campton.
  5. Can You Find Real Barbecue in NH?
    Sure thing! If you know where to look. Yes, really. From brisket and pulled pork to coleslaw and...
  6. The Quest for Local Maple Syrup
    Here's a roundup of our favorite maple sugar shacks to visit during New Hampshire Maple Weekend...
  7. Try Aerial Yoga
    Feeling like you're in an exercise rut? Give aerial yoga a try.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags