A Brief History of T. Komoda Store and Bakery
T. Komoda Store and Bakery, or Komoda’s as it’s more commonly known, has been a Maui institution for over 100 years. Its cream puffs and stick donuts are famous throughout the state. In telling the story of Komoda’s, let’s start at the beginning.
In 1916, Takezo Komoda opened his restaurant in a spot kitty corner from the current location, where Polli’s Mexican Restaurant currently stands. They mostly served sandwiches on their homemade bread, saimin and donuts to local cowboys and plantation workers. It wasn’t long until Komoda’s moved into its current location. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Takezo handed his oldest son Takeo the keys to the restaurant for fear that his Japanese citizenship could force him to turn his restaurant over to the government.
When Takezo’s brother, Ikuo, returned to Maui from baking school with a folder full of new recipes in 1947, Komoda’s started its evolution from restaurant to bakery and general store. While the now famous stick donuts and malasadas had their roots in the original bread recipe used back in 1916, it wasn’t until early in the 1960s that Ikuo introduced his famous cream puffs.
While local residents made up a lion’s share of its customers, in 2008 when the recession hit, Komoda’s came perilously close to shutting down. Since then, though many locals have returned, Komoda’s now counts on island visitors to fill the gap lost by non-returning locals.
Today, still using the same exact cream puff recipe Ikuo developed in the ’60s, Komoda Store and Bakery is run by Takezo’s granddaughter Betty Shibuya and her husband/chief baker Calvin Shibuya. Lest you think Calvin lucked out in marrying into the family, know that at 74 years old his regular work hours are 11:30 PM until the shop closes at 4:00 PM!
If you’re on Maui and headed upcountry, a trip to Komoda’s is must-visit. It’s also a nice place to stop on the way to/from Haleakala. Just make sure you’re there by 10:00 AM, or you’ll probably find most of the bakery’s favorites sold out.
Do you have a story about Komoda’s? Please share it in the comments below. Mahalo!