A new bakery in downtown Hilo invites the community to its grand opening celebration this week. Located at 187 Kilauea Ave., Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery is quite distinctive with its bright blue storefront, hanging flower baskets and enticing aromas.
“People tell us every day, ‘Oh, it smells so good,’” said bakery owner Eric Cox, whose bestsellers are the roasted three-seed bread and chocolate chip walnut cookies. Launching his storefront with a soft opening on March 1, Cox stated, “Hilo was ready for a new bread bakery. Tons of people have walked in to say how great it is to get fresh bread downtown and to tell us, ‘We’re so glad you’re here.’”
Papa‘a Palaoa’s breads include cranberry mac nut whole wheat, oatmeal, multi-grain, olive, spicy corn, sourdough rye, sourdough whole wheat, and cinnamon raisin mac nut swirl. Specialty items include pan forte, cinnamon rolls, and brioche with chocolate chips and vanilla cream. With the store’s opening, Cox has added to the menu scones, muffins, cookies, and quiche, plus coffee and chai.
“We’re thrilled to be downtown,” said Cox. “The kitchen is fantastic. It’s big, roomy, and well appointed. By the grand opening celebration, we’ll have tables and chairs so people can hang out. I love that people can watch us bake since it’s an open kitchen.”
Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery was founded in December 2006, starting small and eventually expanding to include sales at farmers markets in Hilo (Wednesday and Saturday), Na‘alehu (Wednesday), Mountain View (Saturday), Pahoa (Sunday), and Volcano (Sunday).
Cox then started looking for a place to make bread available to a broader market. He needed a bigger kitchen, because the quantity of bread he’d been making for farmers markets and various wholesale accounts was exceeding his capacity.
“Before, we were hand kneading all our bread. Now we have a commercial mixer. We can make so much more bread so much more quickly,” noted Cox. “The storefront is our next step up. Not only does it increase our business presence, it has improved our ability to make good bread.”
Cox, who joined the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, is assisted by partner and baker Paul Lackner, plus bakers Rachel Van Etten and Nick Mount.”
“We invite you to come down, check us out, and see what we have to offer, what tickles your taste buds. Stop in and give us a try,” Cox said. “Smells are free.” So are samples, which rotate on a daily basis.
Papa‘a Palaoa Bakery is open 5 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. For more information, call 935-5700.