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Our Story

Hello Hilo traces its roots back to Robert R. Taira, who grew up as one of eleven children in a large family in Hawaii. Robert had a deep love for food, viewing it as the central element that brought his family together, fostering connections and quality time.

Robert was born on the big island of Hawaii, where he experienced a beautiful blend of cuisines as neighbors from diverse countries and cultures shared their food. It was Portuguese bread that sparked his passion for baking. In the 1950s, he established his first bakery in the small town of Hilo, Hawaii. This bakery became renowned for producing soft, round loaves of Original Sweet Hawaiian bread.

As the business flourished, Robert relocated to Honolulu to open King's Bakery. The entire family worked tirelessly in the bakery, enjoying meals together at the bakery counter. Guests visiting the bakery were often invited to partake in their homemade meals. Over time, the bakery transformed into a family-style restaurant. Soon enough, locals flocked to the establishment, forming long queues for coffee, bread, cakes, and delectable local cuisine.

News of Robert's famous Hawaiian bread spread rapidly, leading to thousands of pounds being shipped from the island to the mainland. In the 1970s, the Taira family established the King’s Hawaiian bakery in Torrance, California and began selling to grocery stores.

As King's Hawaiian bread gained popularity nationwide, Robert yearned for the personal connections and "talk story" (chit chat) moments he had with locals at the restaurant and bakery in Hawaii. In 1988, he opened the King's Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant in Torrance, to recapture that sense of community and interaction.

To carry on Robert's legacy and his vision of creating a welcoming environment where people can savor irresistibly delicious food with loved ones, the Taira family later opened The Local Place, a fast-casual restaurant in Gardena, California and which soon developed a strong community following of its own.

At Hello Hilo, we proudly continue the Taira family's mission of spreading Aloha through our Hawaii-inspired cuisine and hospitality. Aloha encompasses values such as kindness, compassion, respect, and care, which shape our approach to food, people, and the community we consider our 'Ohana (family).

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve your families and our community. Mahalo!

On Our Walls

At Hello Hilo in Gainesville, Georgia, we warmly welcome guests with a captivating mural in our dining room that was hand-painted by renowned Hawaiian artist Brandy-Alia Serikaku. This signature mural showcases a 50-foot-long lei, a cherished symbol of aloha in Hawaii. Leis, meticulously crafted with carefully selected flowers, often convey significant stories passed down through generations in Hawaii.

Our Hello Hilo lei showcases thoughtfully curated flowers and natural elements that narrate the remarkable journey of the Taira family, beginning with Robert R. Taira in Hawaii and culminating in the establishment of Hello Hilo in Georgia. Among the featured flowers are the Ohi'a lehua, the official flower of Hawaii's big island, the Ilima blossom and Plumeria, symbolizing O'ahu, and pink peach blossoms representing Hello Hilo's Georgia home. The lei's elegant twists pay homage to the traditional Hilo style, while deep blue watermarks capture the allure of the Pacific Ocean.

About the Artist

Brandy-Alia Serikaku, a Native Hawaiian from Hilo i Ka Ua Kani Lehua, Hawaiʻi, is deeply committed to honoring and inspiring the Lāhui Kānaka (Hawaiian people). As a graphic artist, she focuses on revitalizing spaces and reconnecting individuals with their environment through her art. Brandy's extensive background in Hawaiian Studies, Hawaiian Language, and 30 years of training as a hula dancer under Kumu Hula Johnny Lum Ho have shaped her distinctively Hawaiian style. Her artwork embodies her experiences as a Hawaiian mother, storyteller, and surfer, providing a unique perspective to her craft.