Aloha! Welcome to the island of…Berkeley? Okay, we’re not exactly an island, but Ono Bakehouse is serving up sweet and savory treats to remind us of the paradise comforts of Hawaii.

The bakeshop opened its doors in late 2020, marking it as the first Hawaiian bakery in the East Bay.

Born and raised in Maui, Hawaii, chef and owner Desiree Valencia decided to open the bakehouse after the success of Ono Snax, a Hawaiian snack and dessert pop-up she founded earlier that summer. At Ono Bakehouse, Valencia serves classic Hawaiian baked goods that she grew up eating while also reinventing these childhood treats with a nod to Asian ingredients like mochi and miso. Valencia embraces California culture by incorporating the state’s seasonal ingredients, while continuing to stay true to her Hawaiian roots.

If you have never had a Hawaiian baked dessert, make an adventurous stop to this Hawaiian Bakery in the East Bay. Order a cup of their delicious Hojicha Latte to help get you through the week, or a savory snack to munch on while studying. Craving something sweet? From lilikoi poppy seed pound cake to haupia pie, the choices seem endless. Ono Bakehouse is the perfect place to pretend that you’re on a gorgeous sandy beach to watch a beautiful Pacific sunset.

Furikake Snack Mix

Verena Yiu

The snack that started it all. This tasty, crunchy treat combines pretzels, breakfast cereals, and chips with furikake, sesame seeds, and a soy butter glaze. It has a sweet and savory umami flavor that just brings you back to those simpler days in elementary school. You can share it with friends, or keep the bag for yourself. 

If you are looking for a heartier, savory snack, the bakery also sells Umami Onion rolls, Spicy Berkshire Pork Sausage Buns, and the classic Spam Musubi, all of which will make your mouth water.

Lilikoi Poppyseed Pound Cake

One of my favorite flavors of all time has got to be lilikoi. Lilikoi is a yellow passionfruit that is frequently grown in Hawaii. The tart lilikoi flavor combines perfectly with the nuttiness of poppyseed and the sweetness of this pound cake. To top it off, the coconut passionfruit drizzle takes it to another level. 

Chocolate Haupia Pie

This rich and decadent pie combines two favorite desserts—chocolate and haupia, a coconut milk-based dessert. With a flaky pie crust that holds creamy chocolate pastry cream topped with whipped cream, haupia custard, and coconut chips, this pie will keep your taste buds dancing.

Queen Emma Cake Slice

There is nothing better than flavor combinations that complement each other. One of the best combinations out there—in my opinion at least—is guava, lilikoi, and coconut. Where can we find this combo? In a Queen Emma Cake, of course! Ono Bakehouse’s Queen Emma Cake Slice is by far my go-to item. The guava, lilikoi, and coconut chiffon cake layers come together with a mousse of the same flavors to create a deliciously sweet and tart dessert that is beautiful to look at and even more so to eat.

Hojicha Latte

If you are a fan of matcha lattes, but want to try something a little bit different, may I introduce you to the Hojicha Latte. Hojicha is your typical matcha with a little extra oomph—roasted matcha. This gives it an earthy and nutty quality that compliments any sweet or savory item offered at this Hawaiian bakery in the East Bay.

If matcha isn't your thing, grab a Latte X, a drink only available at the bakery. It combines the rich bitterness of espresso with the buttery, toasty flavor of malted milk. It is a definite must-try.

After my first visit to Ono Bakehouse, it quickly became one of my favorite places in Berkeley. It has all the flavors and the feelings of home that hug you from the inside out. Eating the foods and drinking the lattes reminds me of family road trips and vacations with friends, something everyone’s been nostalgic for since the beginning of quarantine. With an array of treats and drinks to choose from, pick up some snacks to-go or enjoy them on the outside patio. Either way, Ono Bakehouse will give you that sense of Aloha we have all been missing.