Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop Has Reopened as a Malassada Truck in Kailua
The longtime bakery closed in 2018 after nearly 50 years in business. Now it’s back, just down the road from its original location.
For decades, Agnes’ sold the most traditional Portuguese malassadas in the state—about 150 dozen per day. So when the bake shop reemerged in Kailua recently, Frolic Hawai‘i assistant editor Thomas Obungen took to the streets to show us what we’ve been missing.
Agnes’ Bake Shop has set up a malassada truck in the parking lot of Manuheali‘i in Kailua, just down the street from where Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop had a storefront for nearly half a century. These freshly fried, crispy, slightly chewy morsels have been absent from the Windward Side since Agnes’ closed in January 2018, so there’s a lot of excitement about this little truck.
The lure of Agnes’ malassadas was so strong that two months after Non deMello, the man at the bakery’s helm for 30 years, closed it due to increased operating costs, bakers Kim Potter and Kawehi Haug of Let them Eat Cupcakes and Hukilau Honolulu tried to revive the bake shop. They worked with deMello to learn the trade secrets and even held malassada pop-ups downtown at Hukilau to help raise money for their expensive endeavor. Sadly, it didn’t get off the ground. Now Ryan Katsuno owns the rights and recipes to Agnes’ Bake Shop and much as Potter and Haug had planned, reopened Agnes’ as a malassada truck.
Crispy, chewy and thicker than the others guys’, these are apparently closer to what authentic Portuguese malassadas taste like. They’re also very much like what folks in Kailua grew up eating, their necks extended to avoid getting sugar on their shirts. You can feel the excitement when people pull up on their beach cruisers with keiki in tow. That’s what I’m living to see these days.
Agnes’ Bake Shop, Manuheali‘i parking lot, 5 Ho‘olai St., Kailua, open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., @agnesbakeshop808