January 14, 2019
Writer: Virginia Henry

Many people in Rexburg were sad to see the restaurant Nielsen’s Frozen Custard leave with their signature custard. Something new and completely unique has taken its place. It’s called Kainoa’s Hawaiian Grill.

BYU-Idaho Radio interviewed the owner, Jeremy Claridge, about the restaurant. He is from Thatcher, Arizona. He and his family moved to Rexburg for a change of scenery and because he is an agricultural pilot.

The only other Kainoa’s in existence is in Thatcher.

“My wife loves Kainoa’s and she said, ‘What are we going to do without Kainoa’s?’” Claridge said. “I said, ‘Well, I guess we’re going to open one,’ just joking.”

Even though Claridge was just joking, the idea wouldn’t leave them alone. They finally decided to make it happen and everything fell into place really fast.

Kainoa’s brings unique food to Rexburg. Claridge says the only other place that serves two similar items is Da Pineapple Grill.

“Our menus are nothing alike,” Claridge said. Da Pineapple Grill serves mostly sushi and meats like Kalua pork, whereas Kainoa’s serves some more traditional Hawaiian dishes like spam and misoy chicken.

One of the most popular menu items for Kainoa’s so far is their Ono Fries.

“Ono Fries [are] drizzled with ranch, cabbage, diced up chicken katsu, Waikiki sauce and a little more ranch,” Claridge said.

If that isn’t enough to interest you in their menu we asked what makes Kainoa’s special.

 “It’s fresh,” Claridge explained, “everything that you get in here aside from our fish and chips, everything else, all the sauces all the meats, everything is made fresh in house.”

They have wraps, salads, smoothies, and a vast assortment of entrees with different meats.

Kainoa’s officially opened on Dec. 5.

 “I figure there’s still about 85 percent of this town that doesn’t know we’re here,” Claridge said.

They mostly use Facebook and Instagram to market their menu. “We do have an app coming out,” Claridge said. You can order online and then come pick it up inside or through the drive-thru.

If you’re worried about prices, they have options for starving college students. Claridge explained, “We always have a daily special. You can come in and eat pretty good for $4.95.”

“We’re just looking at ways we can benefit the college kids,” he said, “we know that a lot of them are broke, I know that when I was in school I was broke.”

They also have other deals or discounts for missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Not only that but they will give discounts for catering to congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ as well. That’s right, they cater!

Last of all if you have dietary restrictions they’ve got you covered as well.

“One of the things we recently added was a gluten-free option to our menu,” Claridge said.