Olowalu Pit Stop

Oh, la la. If those walls could talk in the old, legendary Chez Paul French restaurant in tiny Olowalu.

But these days, Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop is creating its own reputation for pies, both savory and sweet, and most recently, for its new breakfast service.

“We just did a soft opening for breakfast a couple of weeks ago Tuesday, and so far, the Benedicts are fast becoming the signature morning entree,” says Leoda’s new Chef Marcus Whisenant.

On a recent visit, my friend and I found three varieties on the menu, ranging from ham to veggie patty to seared ahi Benedict, and we opted for the latter.

All come atop Leoda’s rye bread, a unique twist on the original English muffin. The chef sears sashimi-grade ahi and poaches farm-fresh Launiupoko eggs, adds local basil pesto and Hollandaise sauces and watercress as a garnish. It is accompanied by tender breakfast potatoes.

The ketchup for the potatoes is made in house and is a combination of apricots and tomatoes. It may sound odd, but it’s off the scale in taste, a nice balance. Tomatoes are fruits, after all.

We also dove into the ham-and mushroom frittata, which was a layered Launiupoko egg casserole with potatoes, cheddar cheese and onions served with pineapple chutney and creme fraiche.

“The other day, I got some compliments on the frittatas,” says Chef Whisenant. “One was from a lady who said she hadn’t had eggs like that since she was in Paris. That made my day. I’m a big fan of ‘fresh and local,’ and the Launiupoko eggs really make the dish.”

The bacon-and-egg sandwich also jumped out at us and didn’t disappoint. Hapa bread enveloped applewood smoked bacon, egg, sprouts, cheese, avocado, tomato slices and butter lettuce.

“We bake four types of bread, including rye, butter white, seasonal whole multi-grain and hapa, which is white and wheat,” says the chef. “You may order whole loaves or enjoy them in sandwiches. We even bake our own signature potato buns for burgers such as the patty melt.”

Before Leoda’s first opened, the culinary team was flown to Ann Arbor, Mich., to the famous Zingerman Bakery to learn all about bread baking. The resulting loaves are truly world class, arguably the best on island, and baked fresh on a daily basis.

“Our bake shop is now open 24 hours a day,” says the parent company’s director of marketing Kaala Buenconsejo. “Our bread is always fresh. Once it’s a day old, it’s so out of here.”

While it is a comfortable, old-style eatery with large tables, Leoda’s is fast becoming a convenient pit stop for those on the go from Lahaina, or vice versa, in its spot right on Honoapiilani Highway.

“Leoda’s General Manager Rosy Robbin is sensing a lot of people want grab ‘n’ go items on their way to the airport or to the beach or to Haleakala,” adds Buenconsejo. “So we’ve got some great items that fall into that category.”

We tried the bacon and egg hand held, which is one of Leoda’s signature savory pies in an empanada shape. Golden and flaky crust on the outside, with spinach, bacon, egg and cream cheese on the inside, makes for a winning breakfast.

So does the savory biscuit with herbs and cheddar cheese. Ditto for the granola with almonds, coconut and honey; the housemade honey yogurt; and the parfait with a combo of the two along with a generous topping of fresh seasonal fruit.

In a hurry? Who isn’t these days. That’s why a big pot of Maui Oma Coffee Roasting Co.’s best brew is situated right where you stand in line at the counter. Pour yourself a cup, mix in half ‘n’ half and sugar if you like, and start sipping.

Ogle the pies in the display case and grab one or two to go. Both the sweet and the savory versions come in 3-inch hand held and 5-inch sizes. If you want a larger pie, call at least 24 hours ahead.

“During breakfast, if you want a sandwich or a burger, we are also allowing that,” adds the chef.