It’s a rare occasion when anything changes in Haiku. The mountainside tries to keep its slow school charm by keeping modifications to the minimum. So you may not have noticed the subtle changes over at Hanzawa’s Variety Store from new owner Darren Jones, who began operating the neighborhood store last December. The best time to take notice is by dropping by at their Grand Re-Opening party this Saturday from noon to 4 pm.
“We just want to re-introduce ourselves and Hanzawa’s to the community,” said Jones, who is also a co-owner of both Rodeo General locations and Alive and Well. “We are slowly improving what we do here. We have four or five fresh poke we make here everyday. We buy local fish and sell fresh filets. We have a different daily lunch plate special. Today is chicken katsu.”
Hanzawa’s began in 1915, filling a basic need for supplies in the upper Haiku area, when Taichiro Hanzawa opened in a two-story house. During World War II Hanzawa and his brother Tetsuji were interned in a camp for Japanese Americans, but returned to the store after the war ended. The gas station went in in 1958. That house burnt down in 1974, and was replaced by the building that stands now.
In 1988, Sandy Daniels–granddaughter to Taichiro Hanzawa’s brother Tetsuji–moved from Oahu to run the store with her husband Matt. Things were good at first but towards the end of the last decade they spent five years trying to rezone and expand, and were never successful. They decided to lease the store in 2010.
Jones is psyched on the Haiku store, and to celebrate he is giving away $500 in gasoline, t-shirts, hats and Hanzawa’s store gift certificates this Saturday. The event will also have live music, a big water slide, pony rides, horseshoe contest and a watermelon eating contest. Hanzawa’s will also hand out loyalty cards good for 15 percent off (with an 8 gallons of gasoline purchased same day). The card will be good for all of 2013.
Paul Lamparelli manages the kitchen and hot food, where their daily plate specials, grab-and-go salads and sandwiches, fresh fish and Life Food veggie burgers are sold. Lamparelli says he will break down a local steer and serving prime rib and barbecued beef on Saturday. They will also have red hot dogs for the kids. Best part is it’s all free.
“I am keeping it simple,” says Lamparelli. “Come in for fresh fish filets, they are always $14.99 per pound. Fresh poke is always $12.99 per pound for all the different types. Today we have tako, ahi, mahi ceviche and beef poke.”
Jones has brought back a full stock of Levi’s that are popular with the paniolos and says only Costco can beat his gas prices. The store has a good mix of staples, car products, coffee, frozen foods, local beef, drinks, wine and beer along with some natural foods and produce. The poke I tasted was delicious, and the mahi ceviche and beef poke were also winners.
“The store covers all the basics,” says Jones. “We have car oil, we have milk and cereal. Plus we have organics and locally grown produce. We are the only store around so we try to have a broad appeal.”
1833 Kaupakalua Rd., Haiku