PHOTO COURTESY OF KENDYCE MANGUCHEI
Family members Paul Booth, left, dad Richard Booth Sr., mom Carolyn Booth, and Carolyn's parents Anna Marie and William Creal own and operate Aloha Kauai Pizza, a family-run business with a civic conscience.
Pizza makers serve aloha on Kauai
With little more than a love of cooking for others and an old family recipe, Richard Booth Sr., his wife, Carolyn, and their two sons started a business -- Aloha Kauai Pizza -- that has become a Kauai family institution.
Today, 17 years after the family moved to Kauai, Aloha Pizza prepares meals for the Salvation Army on Kauai twice a month. They give pizzas away to graduating high school seniors and do volunteer work when they can.
"There is something about Kauai that's very spiritual," Carolyn Booth said. "Kauai allowed us to be ourselves, to be happy, to be strong, to be adventurous."
The business got off the ground with a philosophy of hard work, serving the community and Carolyn Booth's grandmother's recipe brought over from Sicily.
The first two years, Carolyn Booth said, were the hardest.
Her husband of 30 years, Richard Sr., who also works as an ultrasound technician, had a heart attack. Then, just 10 days later, Hurricane Iniki destroyed nearly everything on Kauai.
"Through all these things, we still had each other," she added. "And we can get through anything together."
Son Paul Booth, an aspiring filmmaker, said: "It's something I've been a part of since seventh grade. My dad taught me how to cook when I was 13."
Elder son Richard Booth Jr. met a local Kauai girl and they are raising their two daughters in Hilo. Whenever they get to the Garden Isle, their proud grandmother said, they pitch in at the restaurant in the Coconut Marketplace in Wailua.
Carolyn's parents, William and Anna Marie Creal, moved to the Garden Isle several years ago after retiring. When William Creal isn't working on his "second career," golfing at the Wailua Golf Course, he's also helping at the restaurant. It's the same with Anna Marie Creal, Carolyn Booth said.
"We all pull together to make sure it all gets done on a daily basis," said Paul Booth.
The younger Booth, who wrote, produced and directed a short film, "Empty Streets," came home from California earlier this year when his parents went through some health issues.
And he was still making pizzas this week, after staying for months so his parents could have some time off for themselves.
"My parents go to work every day," he added. "I needed to be here."
Paul Booth also said it's been the pizza place, and his parent's work ethic, that inspired him to get "Empty Streets" off the ground.
The movie follows a homeless veteran, just home from Iraq, and his experiences over a night in a Mainland town.
After returning to Kauai, Booth was able to have screenings of his film on both Kauai and Oahu. And the proceeds for the screenings have gone to the Hawaii Foodbank and the Kauai Veteran's Council.
"My parents (never worked) to see what they could get," the younger Booth added. "It's very important to us, the community and the people."
Carolyn Booth said she loves to see the kids who worked for them over the years, their extended family, become parents themselves. She's seen former employees become police officers, businessmen and women, and moms and dads.
"It's not just about making pizzas," she said.