East Idaho Eats: Kainoa’s Hawaiian Grill serves up mix of flavorful Hawaiian dishes
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REXBURG — Eastern Idahoans don’t need to travel across the Pacific Ocean to get a taste of Hawaii.
Kainoa’s Hawaiian Grill in Rexburg offers various traditional Hawaiian or Hawaiian-inspired dishes including salads, wraps, tacos and more.
The restaurant has its roots in Arizona, where the first Kainoa’s Hawaiian Grill was opened by Jeremy Claridge’s friend Eric Blair.
“We loved Kainoa’s so much when we lived there that when we came to Idaho, we just knew we had to bring it with us,” Claridge told EastIdahoNew.com. “It’s been a big hit and I think it’s going to continue to be a hit as we grow.”
The restaurant’s Ono Fries has become a local favorite, Claridge said. Classic french fries are topped with chicken katsu, cabbage, ranch and the restaurant’s house-made Waikkiki sauce. The sauce is Kainoa’s take on a sweet green tomatillo sauce.
“Our sauces are all made fresh in-house every day,” Claridge said.
For those feeling extra hungry, Kainoa’s wipeout includes all five of their meats, miso chicken, chicken katsu, bulgogi beef, Kalua pork and fried Spam. Each meat provides its own unique flavor that Claridge explained are good with or without sauce.
“You can not have Hawaiian food without fried Spam,” Claridge said. “Anyone who has spent some time in Hawaii, you know Spam is a staple there.”
To top off the wipeout, the meal includes a scoop of seasoned mac salad and two scoops of rice.
Salads at Kainoa’s include a “hearty” variety of toppings and sauces, setting mixed dishes apart from other food establishments’ menus. Kainoa salads add another twist with an included scoop of rice.
“It’s not too often you find a scoop of rice on a salad,” Claridge said. “My wife always says the right way to eat that salad is to take the rice, break it up on top and shake it all together.”
For those needing more food and space than the restaurant provides, Clairdige said Kaiona’s has gotten into catering. The typical catered meal includes kalua pork, miso chicken, green salad, mac salad, rice and accompanying sauces.
“I guarantee you we beat any price in town in catering,” Claridge said.
Kainoa’s is located at 115 South 2nd West across from Rexburg’s Porter Park. They are open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. More details about the restaurant and its menu can be found on its website.