Hats Off to Sweet SuccessCover Story Features
April 13, 2014
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
To the Class of 2014, Larry’s Bakery salutes you. As one of life’s many chapters draws to a close, graduates are left to relish the glory of accomplishment before embarking on new paths ahead. Simply put, sweet success is divine, to which Larry’s Bakery is no stranger.
Dating back to the 1960s, local boy Larry Yafuso took a giant leap of faith and opened the doors to a small mom-and-pop bakery in Waimalu Shopping Center. Confident in his craft, Yafuso, a graduate of Dunwoody baking school in Minnesota, believed the bakery was the perfect way to provide for his family. Through blood, sweat and tears, Yafuso was committed to this venture 100 percent.
In 1979, Yafuso died from a brain aneurysm, and although it was a time of despair for the family, they knew they had to keep the bakery going — no question about it. Today, Yafuso’s children Iris Yafuso-Toguchi and Lance Yafuso spearhead the bakery, along with the rest of the Yafuso clan, whose day starts before the break of dawn.
“My dad was always very hardworking, giving and courageous, so, of course, we had to follow in his footsteps,” says Yafuso-Toguchi. “He grew up very poor, receiving only one pair of shoes a year. Once, he sacrificed his only pair (of shoes) to save a dog from hot lava on the Big Island. This just shows you what kind of man he was,” she recalls.
Larry’s legacy lives on through the family’s continued commitment to scratch-baking. Larry’s Bakery originally began as a retail bakery, prior to transforming into a wholesale bakery for 10 years. Now located on Lawehana Street in Salt Lake, the establishment reverted back to retail and to this day continues to bake in its original oven.
“We’ve been fortunate to withstand the ups and downs of the economy. Business has been steady.
“We are fully stocked with pastries every morning; we’re running out of space,” Yafuso-Toguchi says, referring to the classics, such as apple and coconut sticks, cinnamon twists, and Chantilly and Dobash cakes, all made from her father’s original recipes dating back to the early 1950s, which, according to Yafuso-Toguchi, are all transcribed in perfect script in his handmade cookbooks.. But no complaints here. In fact, with graduation season creeping up in just a few weeks, Larry’s Bakery already is gearing up for the surplus of orders to come. “I suggest calling as soon as possible to secure your orders before the rush starts,” Yafuso-Toguchi confirms.
And Larry’s Bakery says congratulations to Hawaii’s grads with enticing confections, including Cookie Lei ($25-$35) made with 12 individually-wrapped shortbread flower cookies and graduation-themed cupcakes. Priced at $23.95 per dozen, choose from vanilla, chocolate or red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting And for $27.95 per dozen, opt for white Chantilly frosting instead.
“There are some who love Chantilly, but the nice thing about buttercream frosting is that it doesn’t have to be refrigerated,” Yafuso-Toguchi explains, noting that each cupcake is festive with a sprinkle topping and a graduation cake pick.
Individual cookies ($3-$4) and Cookie Lanyards (starting at $7.95) also are perfect for grads to much on as they celebrate this momentous occasion.
Cookie Flower on a Stick ($3.50 each) is a fun alternative to live flowers or a bouquet. The treat features a flower-shaped shortbread cookie dipped in fondant, decorated and secured onto a plastic lollipop stick.
“We attach the stick to the back of the cookie instead of inserting it in the cookie — that way there is no hole, and no air and moisture can escape into the cookie,” Yafuso-Toguchi explains.
Grads can have their cake and eat it, too, as Larry’s Bakery offers cakes ranging from 8-by-8-inch to a full sheet. Select from red velvet, butter or chocolate cake topped with buttercream frosting (non-refrigerated) or chocolate Chantilly, white Chantilly or Dobash (refrigerated).
Yafuso-Toguchi says the aforementioned items can be customized to order, therefore the price is reflective of that. Inquire within for price details.
“I’m working to establish new cookie concepts and brainstorming decorating ideas. My dad always said that you have to be flexible and be able to change with the times, but still cater to the wants and needs of your customers,” she says.
For Larry’s Bakery, the recipe for success is easy to follow, and is one that the Yafuso ohana lives by every day.
“In order to be successful you have to follow your heart and stay focused on what you want to succeed in,” Yafuso-Toguchi says. “The Class of 2014 should know that life will have its ups and downs, but you can’t give up. You have to persevere to find your niche.”
4369 Lawehana St., B-2, Honolulu
Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday, 6 a.m.-noon
Note: Larry’s Bakery is a participating vendor at the Farmers Market at Momilani Rec Center held every Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.