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

The Youthful Return of the Family Farm

A new generation is energizing the old tradition at businesses like the Vernon Family Farm.

Giorgio's Ristorante & Bar

Meet the Brewer: 603 Brewery's Matt Neff

In the first of our new Meet the Brewer series, meet the head brewer at Londonderry's 603 Brewery.

Where to Find New Hampshire Food Trucks

Your guide to the best food trucks in the state — and where and when to find them.

Bubby's NY Style Delicatessen

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Secret Swimming Spots
    So maybe "secret" is a stretch, but if you're looking to escape the summer crowds, then here are...
  2. Mom Goes to Pot
    Therapeutic cannabis is in the house.
  3. Horse Sense
    Queen City mounted police aren’t about to ride off into the sunset.
  4. Saint-Gaudens and Summer Fashion: Real and Ideal
    Summer is about going places and doing things. Fashion is about self-expression and fantasy. To...
  5. Cherishing Education
    Does New Hampshire make the grade?
  6. Riverdale NH
    With a new statue in Meredith, a cultural icon will invite you to sit a spell.
  7. A Lynchian Lens on NH
    This August, Peterborough's MacDowell Colony honors the "Twin Peaks" director
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags