First Look: Tanya’s Pies and Grill Opens on California Avenue
Pie lovers, rejoice! Former workers from Sunnyside Bakery have brought the signature pies back and butter than ever.
chocolate cream, $2 A SLICE OR $13.75 FOR A WHOLE PIE
Photos: Terri Inefuku
Legend has it Sunnyside Bakery’s chocolate cream pie had such a cult following, die-hard fans would brave the 22-mile trek from town just for a taste. When the Wahiawā eatery shuttered its doors earlier this year—albeit temporarily—so too, it seemed, did the dreams of pie lovers everywhere.
After a six-month hiatus, Tanya’s Pies and Grill opened in a new location on California Avenue, just down the road from where Sunnyside used to stand. Several employees of the former landmark made the move to Tanya's, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to sample what many a HONOLULU editor raved about.
PEAR-PEACH PIE, $2 A SLICE OR $13.75 FOR A WHOLE PIE
Turns out, the pies are still addicting, and at $2 a slice or $13.75 for a whole pie, wallet-friendly too. The signature chocolate cream boasted a silky layered filling that was rich in flavor without being overly sweet. Each bite stirred up fond memories of the classic pudding mix that comforted me as a child, but with a more refined texture and deeper chocolate notes tempered by cream. The crust was firm with a slight flake, perfect for supporting the pie’s smooth filling.
As much as I enjoyed the chocolate cream, my vote went to the pear-peach pie with its incredibly flaky, tender double crust. The buttery layers paired perfectly with the soft, almost jelly-like pear filling dotted with larger chunks of peach. I enjoyed the flavors of the fruit, which were not overly sweet. My dining partner, a longtime Sunnyside fan, confirmed both pies stayed true to the originals.
In fact the are so popular, the restaurant has a dedicated take-out window just inside the front door with a list of daily staples (chocolate cream, apple, and banana) and rotating flavors. You can also order by the slice here, perfect for diners craving a quick sweet treat.
The pies are definitely the reason to come. The food,was not as memorable—though to be fair, Tanya’s famous fried rice had sold out by the time we ordered at 1 p.m.. The teriburger, $4.25 deluxe with tomato and onion, offered slices of beef coated in classic teri sauce; tasty but slightly tough. The chicken cutlet, $9.75, was served pre-cut with small chunks of juicy chicken coated in hard breading, a watery gravy drizzled on top. The corned beef hash on the breakfast plate, $7, was more potato than corned beef.
corned beef hash on the breakfast plate, $7
Tanya’s Pies and Grill is cash only, so be sure to stop at an ATM first. Place your order and pay at the main counter, then take a seat—there are about 40 in the main dining area and 16 in an adjacent back room. The restaurant shares a small parking lot with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services. Eleven of roughly 25 spaces are reserved specifically for the restaurant, though the entire lot is fair game on weekends.
While I wouldn’t make the drive for the food—there are, in my opinion, better diner joints in town—the nostalgic flavors of Tanya’s pies are sure to have customers craving more.
1008 California Ave., Wahiawā, (808) 621-7188