NEWBURYPORT — "Healthy, fun, fast and easy" is how the owners of Ohana Kitchen describe their new restaurant, which just opened in Port Plaza.
Jay and Stacy Krecklow opened their first Ohana Kitchen in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, almost two years ago and added a second restaurant in Exeter, New Hampshire, in October 2018.
Newburyport was on their short list for a third restaurant, the couple said.
"This was on the plate for many years," Jay said.
All of their restaurants are in plazas away from downtown areas, a conscious decision made by the longtime restaurateurs to make visiting them an "easy in, easy out," experience.
Ohana Kitchen, with 12 part- and full-time employees in Newburyport, is known for its signature poke bowls and sushi burritos, offering eat-in, takeout and delivery service.
"A healthy, quick-serve option," Stacy said.
Among the restaurant's most popular items are its spicy crunchy ahi bowl and avocado "grindz." The Krecklows also recommend the seaweed salad and sushi burritos, made with seaweed wraps.
One step inside the Port Plaza location, which used to be a D'Angelo's sandwich shop, and you can tell right away the Krecklows have been in love with Hawaii for many years.
That love starts with the name, Ohana, which means "family" in Hawaiian. There's also Jay's Hawaiian shirts and the fact that Stacy has family on Maui.
"A big transformation to change the vibe," Jay said.
There's also a conscious effort to reduce the restaurant's carbon footprint as much as possible with no trash receptacles, only compostable and recyclable-only bins.
While the business opened Oct. 2, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with officials from the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the city will take place soon.
The Krecklows are Chamber members and recently had a booth at the organization's fall festival in Market Square. Both said it is important for them to be active in the city.
"For us, we want to give back and be part of the community," Stacy said.
Ohana Kitchen is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. It is located at 45 Storey Ave. The New Hampshire locations are at 800 Islington St. in Portsmouth and 75 Portsmouth Ave. in Exeter.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.