Big Rob’s Bakery Offers Huge Flavor in Captain Cook

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Cinnamon rolls. Photo credit: Marla Walters

While out running errands recently, we stopped in for a slice of pizza at Patz Pies in Captain Cook.

Until a few months ago, there was a bakery next door to the pizzeria, but it had closed its doors. That bakery has now, happily, re-opened, with Big Rob (Rob Bartz) manning the ovens.

I hadn’t met Big Rob before (I would have remembered, as he stands about 6-foot-4-inches), but I had made my acquaintance with his cookies—my favorites being the ones studded with M&M’s. He has been cooking and baking on the Kona coast for years.


Some of Bartz’ height seems to translate to his baking. Cinnamon rolls are tall and fluffy; turnovers are flaky and light.


The shop entrance is tiny, but it is crammed with goodies. His pastry case made my head spin: turnovers, cinnamon rolls dripping with icing, bear claws, cakes, cookies … all golden-brown, glazed and calling my name.

He serves Kona coffee, which is perfect with the pastries. He can also whip up a fruit smoothie.

It’s not all just sweets, though.

“I take breakfast to the extreme,” Bartz explained.


He directed my attention to his menu board, where I found Country-Fried Steak ($9), Loco Moco ($8), a Pork Chop Plate ($9.50), and a Fried Chicken Loco complete with rice, gravy, chicken, eggs and more gravy ($9).

A second board featured a BLT with an egg ($7), Breakfast Burgers ($6) and, for the calorie counters, a Veggie Croissant ($6) or a Veggie Omelet ($8). And of course, he serves Spam with his Chef’s Special ($7). Yes, you can get breakfast all day. Yay!

I asked him about his biggest sellers.

“Definitely the Pork Chop plate [$9.50]; but the Two-Egg Plate [$5] is really popular.”


I can see why: two eggs, toast, rice or potatoes and a choice of meat.

There is a table in front of the bakery, but take your breakfast out back for a dazzling ocean view on the deck. What a way to wake up!

Bartz is usually up and at ’em, baking by 3 a.m. But in our second interview, he mentioned that his day would be starting at 1 a.m.

Can you imagine? Let’s cross “baker” off of our career aspiration’s list. And let’s throw in “dairy farmer,” as well. That’s just too darned early.

I purchased a bag of English muffins to take home, which was actually a mistake. After toasting Big Rob’s fluffy-yet-chewy, crispy, English muffins, I have been ruined for store-bought ones. Next visit, I’ll be wiser and get a bag for the freezer.

Big Rob’s is located at  82-6127 Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook, Hawai‘i. (808) 854-1843. Parking in front. Open Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m; Sundays, 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Bear Claws

Bear claws. Photo credit: Marla Walters


Turnovers. Photo credit: Marla Walters

Pastry Case

Pastry case. Photo credit: Marla Walters

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls. Photo credit: Marla Walters

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