by Andrew Crisp
Husband and wife team Keoni and Kana Tyler are heading back into the kitchen this spring to re-open Kana Girl's Hawai'ian BBQ on State Street Saturday, April 13.
After closing more than two years ago, Kana said the restaurant plans to reopen at the site of the former Smoke Inn, 3912 W. State St., with a menu similar to one offered at its original location on Franklin Road in Meridian.
"The landlords are working on a little updating of floors and paint, bathroom, that kind of thing," Kana told Boise Weekly. "The actual reason for the wait is I’m remodeling the cook—my husband has to go in for a couple surgeries before opening day."
Keoni spent his youth in Hawaii, learning authentic Hawaiian recipes from his grandfather. Popular dishes include his kalua pork, which is slow-roasted for 10-15 hours.
"Our standard menu will be pretty much the same," she said. "We have specific gluten-free and vegetarian menus, and he’s working on a low-sodium menu. The gluten-free is pretty substantial; the soy sauce base that he uses to make the teriyaki sauces is gluten-free, which is unusual. Most folks who have issues with gluten can’t eat teriyaki."
Though the iconic building is configured with a drive-up window, Kana said it's not likely drive-thru service will be a large part of the restaurant's initial offerings.
According to Kana, the pair are excited and grateful to re-open the restaurant after having to close the previous location for personal reasons.
"The short story is that he and I are both recovering alcoholics, and we relapsed, and we both threw it away," she said.
Kana said that sharing their story helps keep them sober, and that the long version of their struggle can be found on her blog, kanatyler.com.
Kana Girl's will be open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and entrees range from $4.95 to $10.95, Kana said.