Since 1990, Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza has been a one-stop shop for various pastries, sandwiches, pizza, soups and assorted beverages — 350 ingredients in all.
Owners Thomas and Kathleen Pickett originally intended to bake bread. The community, however, yearned for more than just bread and the Picketts accommodated the community’s wishes.
“It is what it is today because of what the community wanted,” said Thomas Pickett. “The idea of bread alone changed to breakfast, lunch and dinner, and 350 different ingredients to prepare.”
Thomas Pickett has been in restaurants since 1970. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and graduated from their program in 1991. He arrived in Kauai in 1985, when he followed a chef from California to the Big Island, and from the Big Island he transferred to Princeville.
Pickett said the bakery has had 23 years to improve. “We have improved the quality of our ingredients,” Pickett said. “Since then, we’ve been trying to add higher quality ingredients.”
The bakery takes the farm-to-table concept seriously, but with a big menu of 350 inventory items, Pickett says, “You can’t obviously make everything you serve (locally-grown from) Kauai.”
Regardless, Pickett and his team “take one step at a time and eliminate an old thing then add a new thing.” As an example, he used to buy coconut milk by the pallet from Thailand.
“A couple of years ago, we converted to locally-grown coconuts and we actually developed and made our own tools to process the coconuts to coconut water and coconut milk,” Pickett said, “so we’re using 4,000 locally-grown coconuts a year.”
The bakery is also transitioning from buying commercial pesto to growing its own basil and making its own pesto.
“We are growing 3,000 pounds of basil a year,” Pickett said. “That allows us to save on commercial packaging, save money and serve higher quality ingredients, because we use 100 percent olive oil and locally-grown macadamia nuts.”
As far as local distributors, the bakery uses Kauai Fresh Farms, Jessie Hessney for coconuts, Kailani Farms for lettuce, Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, Kauai Island Honey, LBD Coffee, Princeville Ranch for beef and Kunana Dairy for goat cheese.
“I grow all our own papayas for our smoothies,” Pickett said. “And of course our bananas, tomatoes, pineapples are locally-grown.”
Another thing worth mentioning is the bakery’s pork products. “I went to Alaska last spring and attended a seminar from a retired salami maker from Switzerland, and I began the process of making my own ham, bacon and various kinds of sausages,” Pickett said. “We’re now making 120 pounds of various meats ourselves.”
Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza offers foods for sensitive diets. The bakery has a wide range of food that are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and vegan.
“Not everything is gluten free,” PIckett said. “We have offerings for people with various, sensitive diets.”
After Thomas and I talked story, he brought several breakfast items for me to photograph.
The Savory Breakfast Turnovers are breakfast items with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, seasoning and potatoes. The dough used in the turnover is ciabatta. It runs for $7.95 whole and $3.95 for a half.
Guava Macaroons, Rum Balls, Coconut Haupia and Bibingka Cassava are part of the cold desserts menu and range from $2.70 to $3.80.
Mocha Macadamia Nut is a vegan-friendly cake that sells for $4.99 a slice.
If you’re ever in Kilauea, Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza is the place to visit to satisfy your hunger.
A word of warning: The inside can be a little cramped, but the food is definitely worth the squeeze.
Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza, located on 2484 Keneke St. in Kong Lung Center, is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Indoor and outdoor seating are available.
Call (808) 828-2020 and visit kilaueabakery.wordpress.com for more information.