Discover this family bakery’s sweet legacy
By Maria Kanai
Three pounds of happiness: That’s what Andrew Chun-Hori, operations manager of Hawaiian Pie Co., calls the beloved pies created at his family’s bakery.
“I always smile when people first pick up their pies and are thrown off by the actual weight of their purchase,” said Chun-Hori.”The occasional’Whoa! This is heavy!” is always a good laugh.”
Chun-Hori’s family-owned store on Waiakamilo Road has a story as warm and good as the company’s pies. The four generations of Chun-Hori bakers began in 1979 when Richard “Yasu” Hori and Janet Hori opened a store in Manoa, and eventually on the Big Island.
The ohana feel is prevalent among all employees, because working at Hawaiian Pie Co. really is like becoming part of the family. “Due to the fact that we’re a smaller company, we interact with every employee very candidly on a daily basis,” explained Chun-Hori. “Every person who has joined our team has become a hanai (an informal adoption in Hawaiian culture) family to us.”
Whether it’s baking or handling the cash register, everyday tasks at Hawaiian Pie Co. are team-building activities. “During our breaks, we spend our time by sharing stories laughing, encouraging and bonding with one another. It’s a very unique
and welcoming environment to work in,” ensured Chun-Hori.
>Hawaiian Pie Co. is known for its products and the ingredients used to make them, including its fruit fillings and flaky, buttery crusts. Every day, Chun-Hori and his team – including Grandpa Yasu – bake six different pie flavors in full 9-inch pie sizes, and six to eight flavors in mini 4-inch pie sizes. Since pie flavors tend to change weekly, Chun-Hori recommended checking the store’s website every Monday for its “This Week In Pie” update, or following the business on Instagram (@hawaiianpieco).
He also recommended that customers give the store a call beforehand, especially if there’s a specific flavor they want. “We have more than 15 pie flavors available frozen, so you can take (it) home and bake it in your own oven – or we can bake it for you, with a little bit of lead time,” explained Chun-Hori.
Hawaiian Pie Co.’s top-selling flavor is the Hawaiian Passion Pear Pie. “The Hawaiian Passion Pear Pie was the first flavor we used to introduce our signature Hawaiian topping – a buttery coconut top-ping to rival our delectable crust,” Chun-Hori shared. The filling itself uses pears and the slight sweetness of the Hawaiian topping to balance the tartness of the lilikoi puree. Other pie favorites include Caramel Apple and Strawberry Guava flavors.
“The trickiest part of making pies, for me, at least, is constantly trying to think up new flavors to try,” said Chun-Hori. “It’s challenging, but, at the same time, it gives me a chance to be creative. And, in the big picture, this is what makes my job so fun. I’m glad that I have the freedom to play around with ideas and flavors, while also collaborating with my family. It’s one of the perks of being in a family business.”
COMPANY: Hawaiian Pie Co.
OWNER: The Chun-Hori family
BENEFITS: Medical, drug, vision, dental, employee discounts and extensive taste-testing.
NOTEWORTHY: Hawaiian Pie Co. will be offering a brand-new pie flavor this month. And, for Halloween, the bakery will be bringing back two of its limited edition pie flavors: Choconut and Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana.
ANTHONY CONSILLIO PHOTOS