Pop on Over to PopoverJune 15, 2019, 11:38 AM HST (Updated September 8, 2020, 10:52 AM)
Deep in the stacks of files at my day job, I happened to overhear a juicy conversation about popovers. Could I have heard incorrectly, I wondered? Was there something that rhymes with “popover?” I had to emerge and get nosy, based on even the remotest of possibilities.
As it turns out, I heard terrific news. Popover is a new bakery located at 399 E. Kawili St. in Hilo.
Co-owners Barb Townsend and son William Townsend partnered up, took over the former Hilo Bake Shop space, and are producing some fantastic baked goods.
“It’s a family operation,” according to William. “One family, three generations and unlimited aloha.”
Watching the family work together is a pleasure —they are having fun.
What is a popover? It’s a sort of muffin (baked in a muffin or similar pan) made from a batter of milk, eggs, flour, butter and a little salt. They rise tall when baking. The outside is crusty and the insides are almost hollow—but tender.
Popovers have a “cousin,” Yorkshire Pudding, which is often baked in beef drippings and served with roast beef. Another distant cousin, the Dutch Baby, is made with a similar batter. But a hot popover with butter is carb heaven. Popover has elevated this by offering lilikoi butter, too. I’d rather eat this combo than cake. It’s that good.
Why popovers? The Townsends wanted to offer something uncommon, fun and memorable. Eat the popovers as they are or try a popover sandwich. I couldn’t figure out how they were going to construct a sandwich, but as it turns out, the popover makes its own pocket, perfect for fillings.
I enjoyed a Turkey/Avocado ($7) which also had lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, and a house sauce.
At my next visit, I plan to try the Roasted Veggie or perhaps a Breakfast Sandwich. They also offer a variety of flatbreads I am eager to try.
I couldn’t eat my weight in popovers (although I gave it a good try), but want to point out that they reheat well. Five minutes in a 300-degree oven and they were as good as new.
Enthusiasm about the baked goods aside, let’s talk about the coffee. William made me a latte—the best I have had in years. The Townsends use ethically sourced and locally roasted Paradise Coffee. Their espresso (Espresso Nuevo) is a 95-point coffee and it is marvelous. The drip roasts are also in the 91- to 93-point range, which places it in the upper range of specialty coffee.
What is in the future for Popover? They are considering adding soups, which would be a great addition on damp Hilo days. William also noted they plan to offer retail bags of their fresh-roasted coffee for sale in whole bean or ground to order.
Popover is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (808) 935-7874. Ample parking.