New Kailua Bakery Uses Fresh Fruits to Make Tasty Scones With Crispy Edges
Opened in March, Mama’Nita Scones offers perfect scones, fruity iced teas and a break from your busy day.
Owner Anita Rhee learned to bake scones in a class at her church. Now she runs her own bakery in Kailua.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox
There are scones—and then there are scones, the ones that don’t require loads of clotted cream to make them edible, and aren't comically huge and so loaded with cream cheese they’re overly moist and cakey.
Mama’Nita Scones in Kailua makes proper scones, palm-size, soft but sturdy and with a slightly crunchy crust. Jams and butter are optional.
Anita Rhee, the owner and scone engineer, first earned a loyal following at O‘ahu farmers markets in 2011. She started baking scones mostly because she loved them and couldn’t find any good ones here. She opened a 500-square-foot, brick-and-mortar shop in Kailua this past March, offering six daily flavors and a slew of sweet and savory specials including bacon-cheddar-chive, strawberry cheesecake, Parmesan cheese and, her most recent concoction, Mānoa chocolate with coffee and nibs. (She also just introduced the cleverly named Brexit, a scone without any fruit, per a customer’s request.)
“To me, scones are not just a pastry,” says Rhee, the daughter of a Korean diplomat and born in Brazil. “It’s part of a whole afternoon tea culture. It’s about taking a little time out of your busy day to treat yourself.”
Outside Rhee’s charming shop on Ku‘ulei Road, which serves freshly baked scones, cookies, teas and coffee.
The best part about walking into this shop? The smell of freshly baked scones, including these chocolate chip ones, fresh out of the oven.
A registered pharmacist by training, Rhee was a full-time mom of three children in a suburb of Washington D.C. when her husband died suddenly in a car accident in 2000. A few years later, she came to Hawai‘i to visit one of her sisters, who was attending graduate school at UH. Her daughter, then in eighth grade, urged her mom to move to the Islands.
“She said she would do anything to live here,” Rhee says, laughing.
So they packed up everything and moved to O‘ahu. Though Rhee intended to go back to work as a pharmacist, her hobby of baking scones, something she learned at a class at her church six years ago, started to take off.
“I had no plan and three kids and an internship in a pharmacy when this happened,” she says about her business. “I love to eat pastries, and I love to cook and entertain, but I never really baked. But I just started making them and people commented that these were the best scones they had ever had, or the best they’ve had in the U.S. I was just making them for fun.”
She started baking her scones at a commercial kitchen in Kalihi and selling them at farmers markets. Her scones, particularly the organic blueberry, garnered a devout following. She occupied a small spot in HASR Bistro in Chinatown for less than a year before she realized she needed her own space.
Today, her charming shop on Ku‘ulei Road—next door to a tattoo shop where she sometimes tests her new products—features freshly baked scones, cookies, hot teas and coffee. The most popular scone flavors are organic blueberry, liliko‘i and lemon cream cheese—all of which are sold everyday.
A perfectly baked scone flavored with lemon cream cheese, soft but sturdy and with those crispy edges we can’t get enough of.
These pineapple-coconut scones had just emerged from the oven, hot and fresh.
Every month Rhee adds a new flavor, often using seasonal fruit. Next month she plans to make guava scones, one of her more popular flavors at the farmers markets, and in September, the monthly special will be apple cinnamon.
The shelf life of her scones, which contain fresh fruits and no preservatives, isn’t very long. Rhee recommends customers refrigerate or freeze them after two days. If sealed in an airtight container or bag, the scones will stay fresh for a week in the fridge, two months in the freezer. And reheating them is a snap: Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about eight to 12 minutes to get those crispy edges.
Holiday gift boxes are now available for preorder, with pickup starting in November.
There are more than just scones at Mama’Nita. You can also get iced tea drinks including these using lemonade and liliko‘i juice to make ice cubes.
This month Rhee is offering holiday gift boxes—several variety boxes that range from $12.50 for four scones to $25 for eight. You can already place your orders for pickup starting in November.
And she just rolled out two new iced tea drinks: Passionade (passion fruit iced tea with lemonade ice cubes) and Passionkoi (passion fruit iced tea with liliko‘i ice cubes), at $3.82 each. We love how the ice cubes melt but don’t dilute the drink. Genius.
Just a few reasons we love this place.