About Us & FAQ

Bananarama Bakery serves Pahoa and East Hawai‘i Island. We feature an extensive menu of desserts, breads, and savory treats such as our Stromboli. We offer many items which are gluten-free, plant-based/vegan, and sugar-free. Locally owned and operated since 2016.

Bananarama owners Bob & Rob started a banana farm in 2008 and by 2015 grew over 100 types of bananas. In 2016, Bob, a former contractor, renovated and started renting our vacation rental. Inspired by the setting on a banana farm, he renovated the cottage with a banana theme. It was only natural to name it Bananarama Cottage!

After renovating the cottage, Bob the Builder became Bob the Baker. He decided on a whim to enter the Lilikoi Festival contest in 2016, his first such contest entry. His Hawaiian Hummingbird cake (the first he’d ever made), came in 4th and received an honorable mention. He then planned to sell baked goods and frozen banana soft serve out in Kalapana where vendors had set up to sell to hikers viewing the lava flow.

Our first signs with our original plans!

The lava flow stopped before he started, so he began selling at Uncle Robert’s Wednesday night market in Kalapana. With the idea of banana soft serve abandoned, he quickly moved to using our banana supply in more than 10 types of banana bread. Though bananas are not used in most items, the name Bananarama Bakery stuck.

Products from the early days
Baker Bob in the Early Days, November 2016

From the beginning we decided to make baked goods which everyone could enjoy, with extensive plant-based (aka vegan), gluten-free, and even sugar-free desserts and other baked goods. In 2020 we expanded into making savory treats too, including Stromboli, Savory Cheddar Biscuits, and many types of bread.

To expand to more farmers markets, we found a space in Pahoa and decided to also open a retail bakery.

In addition to the store location, we’re now at the Kaimu Farmers Market every Saturday and Makuu Farmers Market every Sunday.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is everything made with bananas?

            No! The name Bananarama comes from our origins on a banana farm. We do make 6 types of banana bread and a few other desserts featuring bananas. However, the vast majority of our food contains no bananas.

Do you ship? Do you do wholesale? Do you deliver?

         Not at this time. We are a very small operation and it will take some time to ramp up production having one kitchen and one baker.

Are the gluten-free items made in a gluten-free facility?

            Everything is made in the same commercial kitchen at the bakery, so it is not a gluten-free kitchen. However, we take steps to avoid any cross contamination with other products containing gluten or wheat.

How do I know what is gluten-free?

         We use a green description and price label in front of gluten-free items. We use red tape on those products with tape ties to make them stand out from other products (which use different colored tape).

Do you make any breads which are gluten-free?

         Yes! Our gluten-free bread uses oat, brown rice, and cassava flour and has pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds on top or without seeds. We also have gluten-free Savory Cheddar Biscuits which taste very similar to our ones using wheat flour. We also have 3 types of gluten-free banana bread, including one with no sugar (getting sweetness from using more bananas).

What is a Stromboli?

         A Stromboli is like a rolled up pizza that is dipped into sauce. It is different than a calzone, which have the sauce inside. All large Strombolis come with a choice of Marinara or Garlic sauce. Spinach is the traditional Stromboli, and we also make a Pepperoni with Extra Cheese and a Pesto with Italian Sausage Stromboli. We recommend Marinara with the Spinach, Garlic with the Pepperoni and Pesto, though all sauces work well with any of them. Sauces are optional with our Breakfast Stromboli, with the Sweet Onion sauce designed to go with it.

I have a dairy allergy. I am lactose intolerant. Is there anything you sell which I can eat?

            Yes, everything! No dairy products are used in anything and are never in our bakery.

What does “plant-based” mean?

            Many use the word interchangeably with “vegan” and “plant-based” also means no animal-derived ingredients are used. Vegan often implies an overall philosophy or way or life, while plant-based simply describes ingredients. Most of our customers do not follow completely plant-based diets or are even aware that our bakery is 100% plant-based. If it’s good, it doesn’t matter!

I have an egg allergy. I don’t eat anything with eggs. Is there anything you sell which I can eat?

            Yes, everything! No egg products are used in anything and are never in our bakery. Baker Bob has cracked the code for baking without eggs! He’s currently working on new egg-free creations which would typically use many eggs or egg whites, such as meringue and angel food cake. Baking with eggs makes use of the specific proteins in them for functions like binding, rising, and ideal textures. Over the years many plant-derived ingredients have become available to replace these egg proteins with plant-proteins. We do not use any “egg replacer” products, which tend to be very expensive, simply because we don’t need to.

Do you have any desserts without sugar?

            We have a macadamia nut banana bread which contains no added sugar and instead gets its sweetness from more bananas. This type is also gluten-free. We also have a Tahitian Lime Bar, which uses erythritol instead of sugar. Erythritol is a non-GMO corn-derived sweetener. It is not a chemically created sweetener such as Aspartame. When we switched this recipe from sugar to erythritol it was difficult telling any difference.

The desserts with “buttercream” sound delicious but I don’t eat butter. Are there other frostings which can be used instead?

            The term does not actually mean it must contain dairy butter. We use a combination of vegetable shortening and plant-butter (aka margarine).

Do you use local ingredients?

            We source local ingredients as much as possible. In fact, most of fruit used comes from our farm!

Do you have any other locations?

            We can also be found at the Kaimu Farmers Market every Saturday from 8-12 and Makuu Market in Pahoa every Sunday from 7-12.

Is your bakery peanut free?

            We use peanuts and several other types of nuts, and everything containing peanuts or other nuts clearly indicates that in the name or description.