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.
Due to Leonard’s popularity Leonard required a larger, more modern facility, moving into their present location at 933 Kapahulu Avenue in 1957.
Having an early hand in the company business, Leonard Jr’s. first job was sitting on a plastic bucket counting script in the red & white malasada wagon. “I remember it like it was yesterday – the 50th State Fair at Kapiolani Park, riding the ‘mad mouse’ and listening to Rhythm of the Rain by The Cascades. “I felt honored to be trusted with such an important job”. He didn’t realize until years later that it saved valuable sleep time for workers starting again only hours after closing each day.
Leonard Jr. is keeping the tradition alive with new creations like the Malasadamobile®, Malasada Babies™, Pao Doce pups™ and Malasada Puffs™. Today you will find malasadas as an exotic dessert in many fine restaurants.
And, to think it all started in a small ‘hole-in-the-wall’ bake shop on Kapahulu with an ethnic treat brought over in 1882.