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Places on Oahu: Leonard’s Bakery

Basic Information

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

Narrative

When driving into Waikiki via Kapahulu Ave. I always see Leonard’s Bakery just off the road packed with customers:

Leonard’s is a well known bakery in Honolulu that locals swear by to include former President Barack Obama.  Here is a short history about the bakery from Leonard’s website:

In June 1882 the British sailing ship ‘Monarch’ brought Arsenio and Amelia DoRego from San Miguel Island, Portugal to Maui, Hawai’i under contract to work the sugar cane fields. Some 33 years later, their grandson Leonard was born. In 1946 Leonard and his wife Margaret moved to Honolulu with their daughter Diane, age 8. Leonard worked at Snowflake Bakery until he founded Leonard’s Bakery℠ in 1952.

Leonard and Margaret were no strangers to hard work, both coming from very large families. The bakery prospered. Not long after opening, Leonard’s mother suggested making malasadas for Shrove Tuesday – a Portuguese tradition. Although thinking it may be too ethnic, Leonard’s bakers complied. Malasadas were a huge hit. And, the appetite for malasadas in Hawaii was born.  [Leonard’s Bakery]

It seems every time I drive by Leonard’s there is no parking so I never bothered to stop by.  After hearing locals keep claiming how great this bakery is I finally decided I had to make a trip there to check it out.  On a recent rainy weekend I decided it was a good time to go to Leonard’s and I was right.  I found parking right away in the small lot in front of the bakery.  So for people like me who don’t like to deal with crowds and long lines the lesson learned is to go to Leonard’s on rainy days.  Once inside I saw the menu that featured their famous malasadas:

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

Leonard’s has plenty of other treats for sale as well:

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

Leonard’s also has plenty of freshly baked cupcakes for sale as well:

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

We ended up buying a half dozen of the malasadas which were really good:

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

However, we learned that they taste best when they are warm and freshly baked.  I had one malasada left over that I ate with breakfast the next day and it just did not taste the same.  So definitely eat these malasadas when they are fresh.  My kids got themselves some cupcakes and other treats and enjoyed eating them:

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

I also brought home a loaf of sweetbread made by Leonard’s:

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii

The bread was pretty good, but not worth going out of my way to pick up.  I tend to buy sweetbread from Ani’s Bake Shop which is just as good in my opinion.

Conclusion

Overall I thought Leonard’s Bakery was a bit overhyped.  The malasadas were awesome, but nothing else about the bakery really blew me away.  The customer service wasn’t all that great with a cashier that seemed more interested in her cellphone than her customers.  However, when you have been in business since 1952 in the same location I guess being overhyped is well deserved because that is an impressive accomplishment.

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