Hilo Welcomes 808 Sweet ShackAugust 24, 2019, 8:00 AM HST (Updated August 13, 2019, 8:03 AM)
Amy Gallegos began her baking career the way all the great bakers do—making mudpies.
Eventually, due to her mother’s Southern cooking influence, she graduated from traditional mudpies to working in in-flight catering for over 25 years. “My mother was a fantastic Southern cook and I learned how to bake from her,” Gallegos said.
After baking and tasting many international foods, she realized, from her Asian customers, that “less-sweet desserts taste better” and she follows that model every day. This isn’t to say that her desserts at 808 Sweet Shack in Hilo won’t satisfy your sweet tooth, because they do. What you get from Amy, though, is flavor. You can taste the dark espresso in her Espresso Chocolate Bars. The aromatic cinnamon in her Snickerdoodles is what you notice first, not their sweetness. You will pucker up after biting into her Key Lime Bars. Her judicious use of fruits (mango, coconut, etc.) bring out the fruit flavors, not just sugar.
We took an assortment of Amy’s goodies to a dinner party with friends and cut everything into pieces so that we could sample it all. Our favorites: Espresso Chocolate Bars, Key Lime Bars and her signature Volcano Cakes, which look like tiny bundts.
Amy’s “shack” shop is easy to find. From landmark Cafe Pesto (308 Kamehameha Ave.), just head past the restaurant and go down the hallway. Take the stairs on the left and you’re there. The shop is mercifully cool and is beautifully decorated. It’s a relaxing spot to enjoy coffee and a treat. The bakery cases are full of cookies, pies and cakes. Shop while you are there—she has a big selection of souvenirs.
The 808 Sweet Shack is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Phone: (808) 657-3713. Street parking.