Xenia natives bringing a taste of Hawaii to their hometown

Kahuna Grindz, a food truck specializing in authentic Hawaiian cuisine, is opening a brick-and-mortar location in Xenia.

The restaurant, owned by mother-and-son duo Darlene Hedges and Anthony Augustus, is expected to open at 645 W. Second St. next to Papa Johns in October or November.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

At this time, the food truck is stationed at this location for customers to come Wednesday through Friday for lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) or dinner (4 to 8 p.m.). They said they are also open on Saturdays starting at noon, unless they have an event pre-planned.

Kahuna Grindz was started five years ago as a way to offer a cuisine that was missing in the food truck industry. Augustus explained they had the idea to start a food truck when they were camping at Cowan Lake and saw a food truck for sale. Once they bought the food truck, he said he surveyed the area to figure out what cuisines were offered. He said they were the only Hawaiian food truck within 300 miles of the Dayton area for nearly their first three years.

Augustus graduated from Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in 2001 before working in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. From working as a head chef to opening restaurants and designing menus, Augustus said cooking is his passion.

Hedges said, “I’ve always thought of owning a small restaurant for years and years.”

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

She explained that she retired from Navistar in Springfield three years ago, and the food truck is a way for her to stay busy during retirement. She said she misses working, but really enjoys meeting the people they serve through the food truck and soon-to-be restaurant.

Kahuna Grindz features authentic, made-from-scratch dishes like rice bowls, tacos and loco moco. Augustus described loco moco as a comfort dish with rice, brown gravy, shredded cheese, a hamburger patty, Hawaiian slaw and an over-easy egg. Proteins typically offered at the food truck include teriyaki chicken, huli huli chicken, smoked pork and spam. The food truck features fish on Fridays.

Augustus explained they hope to expand their menu when they open the brick-and-mortar location. The restaurant is expected to seat 25 to 30 people and have a tiki bar vibe with a drive-through to pick up food. Other goals include adding Door Dash and bottling up their sauces.

“We’re different and I think that’s what has kept us out here for five years now, and that’s what gave us the drive to buy a place,” Augustus said.

They both said they enjoy working with each other, even though they have strong personalities and “butt heads” sometimes.

“We’re just Xenia natives trying to make our little spot here,” Augustus said.

The family also owns a custom T-shirt business that will be included in their new space. For more information about Kahuna Grindz, visit the establishment’s Facebook page.

Kahuna Grindz offers 20% off to police officers, firefighters and EMTs as a way to thank them for their service.

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