Some of the goodies available at the
Clients hungering for a taste of the local life might find what
they’re looking for on the North Shore of Oahu, where an unassuming
landmark called Ted’s Bakery serves sweet helpings of aloha.
On a recent visit, I watched islanders wait in line for warm,
soft, square-shaped doughnuts called glazers. Eva Nakamura, the
86-year-old matriarch of the family business, told me the doughnuts
are dipped in a 100 percent pure vanilla glaze. One taste and I
immediately preferred it to the popular Krispy Kreme glazed
The story of the bakery started when Eva’s son Ted, born and
raised in Hawaii, graduated with a food-service degree and decided
to explore the world. His first stop was San Francisco. After
playing tourist for awhile, he looked for a job.
“Not having much luck, I called home and spoke with my brother
Glenn who heard Lake Tahoe was beautiful, especially when it
snowed,” he said.
Ted bought a bus ticket and, hours later, walked into Tahoe’s
Harrah’s hotel to inquire about employment. There were two
positions available in the kitchen. One was a dishwasher with
graveyard shift hours, the other, a bakery helper.
“I took the bakery job because I liked the hours better,” said
Back home on Oahu, Ted’s parents had been running a North Shore
general store at Sunset Beach since 1956.
Left to right: Glenn Nakamura, Ted
and Eva Nakamura, of Ted’s Bakery
“Eventually Mom and dad encouraged me to come back to the islands
and operate a bakery in part of their building,” said Ted. “There
was a need for a bakery and they said I could even name it after
Having gained experience in top-notch mainland restaurants, Ted
decided it was time to plant some roots and see if his bakery would
He started with simple Danish pastries in 1987 and in 1990 he
introduced islanders to his chocolate-haupia (coconut) cream pie,
now a wildly popular offering. In 1998, the family started a
wholesale pie-delivery service.
“If a customer ordered five or more pies, we would make and
deliver them anywhere on the island,” said Ted. “Office buildings,
banks, schools, even administrators at the prison would call in
Building managers would fax Ted’s pie order forms to tenants and
get 500 responses at a time. Soon, supermarkets wanted to sell
Ted’s pies, and Dole Plantation asked to sell his
Fresh from its 20th anniversary, Ted’s Bakery not only nourishes
surfers on the North Shore, but also visitors from around the world
who want to buy his famous $9.99 cream pies. Meanwhile, a company
in Japan wants to open Ted’s Bakeries in train stations, while
brother Glenn now living in Southern California is scouting
locations for a Ted’s, possibly near Universal Studios. If the
lines are as long as those on Oahu, it should be a blockbuster
When Megan Oliveira moved to Hawaii six months ago, the first
restaurant she tried was Ted’s Bakery. Today the Turtle Bay Resort
administrative assistant is a regular at the North Shore eatery.
“The atmosphere reminds me of going to grandma’s house,” said
Oliveira. “It’s a haven for local foodies.”
She likes going there in the morning, when the pastries come
fresh out of the oven, but she readily recommends the mahimahi
plate at lunch and desserts like coconut cake.
“The food tastes good anywhere, whether you take it to Sunset
Beach or just eat out in front,” she said.