HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Pie Company has been nestled in a storefront just off Waiakamilo Road for only a few years ― yet a storied history is baked into its golden, flaky crust.
Their scrumptious delights started making their way around the state in the 1930s, when Yoshio Hori opened Holy’s Bakery in Kapaau.
His grandson eventually opened a location in Manoa in the 1970s, but now the next generation is running the family business.
Before COVID-19 struck, the pies were flying out of the oven.
“We actually had come off one of our busiest holidays,” said Andrew Chun-Hori, who oversees HPC’s operations. “It was March 14, so it was PI day. So right after that it was, we kind of went into like a brief shutdown just to reassess where we were gonna go from there.”
Hawaiian Pie Company’s reach goes far beyond its Kalihi bakery.
Frozen take-home pies are at grocery stores across the state, and Hawaiian Airlines serves them on flights. But when planes were grounded, so was a sizable chunk of business.
"Basically, the amount of product that they require from us has dropped down, shoot, maybe like 75 percent per week from what it used to be,' said Chun-Hori. “It’s understandable, and we feel for them as well. they’ve always supported us. we do whatever we can to help them out as well.”
To survive, Hawaiian Pie implemented a number of measures ― shortened hours, limited days of operation and a pre-order system where customers can drive up for buttery baked goodness.
"We have been blessed with a lot of steady patrons who come in week in and week out,' Chun-Hori said. “I see the pre-order list. I see the same names on there every week and I’m stoked to see that. Honestly, I’m not too sure. I do know that we’ve all been hit pretty hard by the pandemic, but it’s hard to say, it’s hard to say how long we could last this way.”
The hope is the loyal customer following that’s already lasted decades helps them weather these unprecedented times.