CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
After 25 years of serving up pastries and German food, Patisserie will close next week. Remy Canosa, left, and Luz Tom, waitresses at Patisserie, showed off some of bakery's cakes.
Patisserie at Kahala Mall closing at year’s end
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The changing face of Kahala Mall is leading to some difficult choices for the owners and customers of the Patisserie.
The Kahala Mall Patisserie, a European-style bakery that served up sandwiches as well as German-style sausages for 25 years, will close its doors on Monday.
The Patisserie is one of four tenants to leave that portion of Kahala Mall, whose management is seeking a new look for the space, next door to the incoming Whole Foods Market.
Patisserie owners Bob and Colleen Paparelli are looking for new locations. But they worry that such a move may lose them a few loyal customers, some of whom are used to walking to Patisserie.
In the meantime, only its wholesale operation, which sells to Sam's Club and assorted grocery stores, will remain.
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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Luz Tom dished up soup at Patisserie. Along with pastries, the restaurant served German food, making it a favorite lunch spot for nearby residents.
The Patisserie, a European-style bakery that has served up sandwiches and sausages at Kahala Mall for 25 years, will close its doors on Monday while its owners look for a new site.
The Patisserie is one of four tenants to leave that part of the mall, next door to Whole Foods Market's Kahala store. Ginza Kimuraya Tokyo Bakery & Cafe opted to close in August while Yen King, a Chinese restaurant at the mall for than 20 years, left at the end of October. I Love Country will also close by the end of this year.
Patisserie owners Bob and Colleen Paparelli were hoping they would be able to stay, but they were given notice by the mall management to leave by Jan. 7. The eatery's last German dinner will be served on Saturday and the doors to Patisserie will close on Monday.
"We were hoping to stay," said Colleen Paparelli. "We also had plans to remodel but couldn't do it without a longer lease. It's very sad. You get attached to the people that are your customers."
Like the other tenants, Patisserie had been on a month-to-month lease since March. But the mall's management, MMI Realty Services, has other plans in mind.
Kahala Mall's management is taking the initiative to renovate the four spaces, which measure a little over 7,000 square feet total, on its own, not upon the direction of Whole Foods, said manager Ron Yoda.
"At this point, it's all going to be some kind of food," said Yoda. "We're talking to some new tenants, but we don't have anything firm.... The whole area's going to have a new look with Whole Foods on the end."
Whole Foods Market is expected to open its first Hawaii store at the mall the middle of next year.
The Paparellis, meanwhile, are looking for new locations, possibly in downtown Honolulu, Aina Haina and Hawaii Kai.
But moving further east to Hawaii Kai may lose them a few loyal customers, some of whom are used to walking to Patisserie for morning coffee and pastries, or for lunch and dinner.
The company's wholesale operations, which make up the bulk of business, will continue to be up and running, offering Rolf's lavosh, breads and pastries as well as wedding cakes and catering services. Rolf's Lavosh is sold at Sam's Club and various grocery stores.
Susan and Darryl Lee say they have been eating at the Patisserie on and off for the last 20 years. Their favorite is the pastrami sandwich. They live right across the street from the mall, so usually just walk over, but that won't be possible if the restaurant moves to Hawaii Kai.
"On one hand, we're looking forward to Whole Foods," said Darryl. "On the other hand, we're going to miss these places because all of these places will be gone. So Whole Foods better be good, because we're giving up a lot."
Susan Lee added: "There just are not a lot of German restaurants in Hawaii, period. The prices here are so reasonable. We hope they relocate in the area."
Patisserie was actually founded by Rolf Winckler and Michel Martin (of Chez Michel and Michel's at Colony Surf) in 1968. The Paparellis took over the business about three years ago.
"We've had wonderful letters of support from people," said Paparelli. "And we want to continue to serve the people of Hawaii. They've been wonderful to us."
Patisserie has during its more-than-two-decades tenure amassed a loyal base of customers. Store manager Caroline Gross knows many of them by first name.
In the early mornings, there's the breakfast crowd, which comes in for coffee and pastries, and free refills. Then there's the lunch crowd, which enjoys the lunch specials like stuffed cabbage, meatloaf and lasagne or bockwurst and bratwurst (German sausages).
For dinner, Patisserie drew a loyal following with specials that included its braised lamb shank in cabernet sauce, pork and veal Wiener
schnitzel, sauerbraten, pasta dishes with garlic bread, Hungarian goulash and potato pancakes.
Gross says some customers come in for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Others come in for the pastrami sandwich, the pastries or a slice of cake, the most popular being the Dobash, cheesecake and chantilly.
Patisserie once had another location, in Waikiki but lost it when Outrigger Enterprises revamped Lewers Street to renovate the Beach Walk area. The Waikiki restaurant moved to Kuhio Avenue, but the lease for that store, too, ended when the Ohana hotel was renovated into a Wyland Waikiki.
Dottie and David Hill were eating one of their last lunchtime meals of bockwurst and bratwurst. They have been going to the Patisserie "as long as they've been here."
Dottie Hill said former owner Michel Martin was a close friend of theirs, and used to greet customers and pour coffee there up to about three years ago, in his late 90s.
"It's a great neighborhood place," said Dottie Hill, "and of course there's the great bakery."
Hill said Rolf and MIchel brought a European flair to the place. Every year, she comes in to buy the Dresdner Stollen, a traditional German fruit cake, for Christmas.
The Hills moved from Kahala to Hawaii Kai, so they would welcome the Patisserie's potential move to Hawaii Kai.
Paparelli said the employees and customers are like family after so many years of working together. Remy Canosa has worked for the Patisserie since 1983, and Luz Tom since 1988.
They've seen the kids of their customers grow up over the years. Both said they were unsure about where they would work during the hiatus, although they would be happy to stick with the Patisserie. Gross will work for the company's wholesale plant.