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

Contoocook Cider Company

This isn't sweet apple juice - good hard cider can be just as varied as wine.

The Perfect Turkey

Local chef Keith Sarasin's new cookbook contains 100 recipes for creating the ultimate holiday feast.

2018's Best New Restaurants

Over the last year, Food Editor Susan Laughlin traveled the state, searching for notable new restaurants. Find out which ones made her list.

A Real Winner from Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

A lower-calorie snack for game day - chicken and riced cauliflower stuffed poblanos.

16 New Granite State Breweries

Get ready to experience the thrill of discovery. From the top of the state to the coast, here are 16 new breweries you need to visit.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Prepared for Anything
    As the global future grows more unpredictable, some people are staking out their own worlds and...
  2. 2018's Best New Restaurants
    Over the last year, Food Editor Susan Laughlin traveled the state, searching for notable new...
  3. How Food Can Affect Your Mood
    What you do (and don’t) eat can affect your stress level and more.
  4. Tales From Fritz
    Fritz Wetherbee shared three creepy local stories guaranteed to inspire some Halloween chills....
  5. The Immortal Daniel Webster
    The great orator, statesman and diplomat Daniel Webster was “God-like” in his day, and,...
  6. Movie Star
    Meet Barry Steelman of Concord’s Red River Theatres, this year's winner of the NH Film...
  7. Symphony NH Holiday House Tour
    This annual tour and fundraiser, happening December 1-2, will inspire you to decorate your own...
Edit ModuleShow Tags