Cupcakes and the Return of Bethel Street Tap Room—Sort Of

The Downtown pub may be closed, but the owners have reopened the bakery with plans to serve BSTR food there, too.
From left, the divine vanilla cupcake—that tastes like eating a buttery cloud—and the peanut butter cup cupcake from Let Them Eat Cupcakes.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox


Just weeks after suffering the sudden closure of her pub-restaurant, Bethel Street Tap Room, Kawehi Haug donned her apron and got back to work.


Baking cupcakes, that is.


Not that she ever stopped. Her bakery, Let Them Eat Cupcakes, opened in 2011 in a small space on Beretania Street. When she and her partners opened Bethel Street Tap Room right around the corner three years later, she moved her buttercream-frosted cupcakes and saucer-huge cookies there, keeping the old space for production.


But after a lease dispute forced the closure of the pub, Haug returned to her shop on Beretania Street, dusted off the counters and display cases and opened it back up for business last month, calling it Let Them Eat Cupcakes Cupcakery + Sweet Shop.


SEE ALSO: What Happened to Hale Ōhuna, Bethel Street Tap Room and Off The Wall?


Outside the old bakery, which reopened in January with an expanded menu of desserts and baked goods.


In addition to offering up to a dozen different cupcake flavors every day, Haug is whipping up a wider selection of sweets—more than before—that includes eclairs, cake pops, cookies and gourmet marshmallows. She’s even got some gluten-free options.


“We’ve really been focusing very intently on being true to the ‘sweet shop’ portion of our name,” says Haug, who’s a writer and regular contributor to this blog. “We’ve really sort of kicked our production into overdrive.”


Cupcake flavors include salted caramel, peanut butter cup, lemon, Baileys Irish Cream, German chocolate, cream-cheese-filled red velvet, double chocolate and the popular maple bacon, which tends to sell out quickly. (For this past Super Bowl, the bakery sold chicken-and-waffle and beer-cheddar cupcakes, too. Talk about creative!) Cupcakes run between $2.50 and $3.75 each.


Assorted cupcakes from Let Them Eat Cupcakes, all topped with the bakery’s signature buttercream frosting.


Haug has been experimenting with unique marshmallow flavors—espresso, liliko‘i, matcha green tea and pink lemonade. The new line of eclairs come in a variety of flavors, too, such as lemon custard, banana cream and butterscotch.


But the latest—and, to us, the greatest—addition to the bakery menu are the Grandonas, which translate to “Big Mamas” in Portuguese. She defines them best on her bakery’s Facebook page: “It’s like the malassada and the croissant had a love child.” We couldn’t have described it better. They’re huge knots of flaky, buttery, sugary pastry puffs that are so good, some of the office staff here cheated on their strict diets—and didn’t complain about it.


“The Grandonas are quickly becoming our most in-demand item,” Haug says. “We can’t keep up with the demand, so we limit our production to 100 on a first-come-first-serve basis when we make them.”


A box of four Grandonas that didn’t last very long in our office. These flaky, buttery bread rolls are the best parts of a malaSsada and croissant in one dessert.


Good news for Bethel Street Tap Room fans: Haug says in March she’s launching the Bethel Street Tap Room Test Kitchen in the bakery, where she will be reprising some of the pub’s most popular menu items and featuring some new dishes. (“Our take on the classic Cup Noodles is going to be killer,” she says.) She also has plans to start a corporate catering breakfast and lunch service that will deliver to the downtown area.


“Though the Bethel Street Tap Room is gone for good, we are by no means going away,” she says, triumphantly.


Let Them Eat Cupcakes, 35 S. Beretania St., 531-CAKE,