Our summer series on Hawaii's
finest baked goods closes with a
focus on neighborhood bakeries
A great bake shop is a family affair.
By Betty Shimabukuro
These four bakeries were the most intriguing among the dozens nominated by Star-Bulletin readers as the best at what they do. All are husband-wife partnerships -- one spouse the baker; the other running the shop. The hours are horrendous. Most go to work just before or just after midnight, so the day's pastries are ready before dawn. Maybe they get one day off a week.
"A bakery is hard work," says Beatrice Takara of Kilani Bakery. "When you people are having all your vacations and good times, that's when we work the hardest."
We've devoted the Wednesdays of August to Hawaii's big-time bakeries, particularly to the one signature item that is each bakery's claim to fame. The series:
ABOUT THIS SERIES
9th Avenue Bakery, KaimukiThe family business: Opened by Chosei Zukeran in 1934, passed on to son Robert, now run by grandson Greg Zukeran and wife Sharon.
Claim to fame: No. 1 seller is the Buttercup, an oversized cupcake with fillings such as custard and haupia cream. Second are the gigantic long johns, a full 12 ounces each, stuffed solid with light, flavorful custard.
Other favorites: Cinnamon rolls, cake doughnuts, hot cross buns (sold at Easter). Everything is made by hand, Sharon Zukeran says. "So it tastes better, 'cause it's non-metal-touching."
What's new: The Zukerans are both diabetic and can't eat most of what they sell. Last year, they introduced sugar-free pies, among them apple, custard and pumpkin, and these have become their No. 3 sellers. They are sweetened with a corn-based product, Multitol.
The shop: 3444 Waialae Ave. Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays, closed Mondays. Call 737-7644.
Tribute: "Best darn cinnamon roll on the face of the planet! I can only describe it as orgasmic. You should not attempt to drive and eat one at the same time," wrote Star-Bulletin reader Anita Diaz.
Kamehameha Bakery, KalihiThe family business: Owned by Geramie and Daniel Paglinawan for 22 years. Daniel, the baker, trained in the Philippines and at The Patisserie.
Claim to fame: Haupia doughnuts, created by Daniel just for himself and his wife. The doughnuts proved so quick to make, though, that he began selling them.
Other favorites: Okole bread, other doughnuts, danish, malassadas, butter rolls. "I think he makes the best cornbread and the most throughout the islands," Sharon says.
The shop: 1339 N. School St. Open 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, 3 a.m. to noon Sundays. Call 845-5831. Many lunchwagons pick up pastry orders in the wee hours. "He and I are here seven days a week," Sharon says. "If we go somewhere for vacation, the bakery closes up." This happens once a year when they go to Las Vegas.
Kilani Bakery, WahiawaThe family business: Beatrice Takara is the daughter of Chosei Zukeran, founder of 9th Avenue Bakery. She met husband Walter Takara when he was baking for her father. They opened Kilani 42 years ago and worked together every day until she was sidelined by a pinched nerve in March. The next generation, their two sons, also work at the bakery.
Claim to fame: Kilani is known far and wide for its perfectly chewy, chocolately brownies. What makes them special? "I don't know," Beatrice says. "Just the taste, I guess, yeah?"
Other favorites: Decorated cakes, custard pie, Okinawan sweet potato turnovers, Dobash cake, French bread. Takara says her father baked bread at the Alexander Young Hotel before opening 9th Avenue. "They used to call him the king of the French bread."
The shop: 704 Kilani Ave. Open 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; 621-5662.
Tribute: "The brownies from Kilani are the best! Little rectangular pieces that are sprinkled with white powdered sugar. Melt in your mouth, and the nuts are chopped up just right," says e-mail correspondent "Pohai."
Ani's Bakeshop, HalawaThe family business: Founded by Ani Tanaka, a former teacher at Nimitz Elementary School, and husband Abe, a retired Air Force jet pilot, in 1984. Son Max is the general manager.
Ani is the baker; the business started as a hobby. "I would give people my breads as gifts and then they'd ask me to bake for their fund-raisers and things and before we knew it it got to be more than we could handle."
By far the largest of the four bakeries, Ani's only loosely fits our definition of a neighborhood bakery. The company wholesales to stores throughout the state and has a web site, www.anisbakeshop.com, which fills orders fnationwide. But it remains a family-owned, family-run bake shop, with the original baker still in charge in the kitchen.
Claim to fame: Fruit-filled sweetbread loaves in apple, guava, apricot, coconut and pineapple-apricot flavors. Ani is developing a tropical line to include mango and passion fruit flavors.
Other favorites: Sweet potato-haupia pie, taro rolls, macadamia-nut sweetbread. Its No. 1 seller is the plain sweetbread. The newest item is the Cinnamon Sensation, sweetbread topped with cinnamon.
The shop: 99-840 Iwaiwa St., Halawa Industrial Park. Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Call 488-2193.
Tribute: 12 ballots favoring Ani's were sent in anonymously from one fax number.
Sample comment: "Whenever I travel to the mainland I have to bring a huge box of bread. My relatives say I can't stay with them unless I bring them Ani's breads."
These bakeries -- along with the Big Four above and the neighborhood favorites profiled at right -- were nominated by Star-Bulletin readers along with their favorite baked goods:
PIESDeluxe Pastry Shop, Kaneohe: Lemon-custard and apple-custard
Tom's Place, Kakaako: Banana cream
Ted's Bakery, Sunset Beach: Chocolate-haupia cream
Lee's Pastry Kitchen, Chinatown: Custard
Sunny Side, Wahiawa: Chocolate-custard
Hawaii Regional Cuisine Marketplace, Ala Moana Center: Macadamia-nut cream
CAKESBakery Kapiolani, Honolulu: Dobash-custard
Cafe Laufer, Kaimuki: Kugelhoff coffee cake
JJ's French Bakery, Kaimuki: Chocolate Pyramid and other French specialties
BREADSLe Bon Pain, Kaimuki: Japanese-style white, French, walnut, butter and sweet-potato loaves
Sconees Bakery, Kaimuki: Raisin and blueberry scones
Mary Catherine's Bakery, Moiliili: English breakfast scones
Bakery Manoa: Sweetbread and walnut brot
Craig's Bakery, Kailua: Bread pudding
Agnes' Portuguese Bake Shop, Kailua: Bread pudding
PASTRIESPaalaa Kai Bakery, Waialua: Puffies and butter rolls
Deluxe Pastry Shop, Kaneohe: Eclairs
Bakery Kapiolani, Honolulu: Glazed doughnut
NEIGHBOR ISLANDSKanemitsu Bakery, Molokai: Hot Bread
Komoda Bakery, Maui: Cream puffs and long johns
Simply Sweets, Maui: Cream horns and puffasadas
Standard Bakery, Kona: Back-bean anpan
Home Made Bakery, Maui: Manju
Kelly's, Hilo: Rye and other European-style breads
Lanai Company Central Bakeshop: Sour-cream bread
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