A new business sprouted in June in downtown Olympia. With roots in COVID boredom and Instagram notoriety, a young couple has taken their entrepreneurial adventure to traditional brick and mortar hoping their sapling of inspiration grows into a thriving business.
The seed of inspiration was planted during the pandemic of 2020 for Oly Vidallon and Max Oca. They couldn’t travel. They missed the culture of the Hawaiian Islands. Why not bring one of their favorite cultural trappings home to quarantine?
Without knowing it at the time, Oly and Max were starting their next great business adventure by trying to recreate the Hawaiian delicacy of Malasadas. A Malasada is a Hawaiian-Portuguese donut. The fried concoction is less sweet than traditional American donuts. Max has crafted his unique recipes from trial and error, basing his efforts on online advice that evolved with his own preferences.
“Malasadas” means “badly baked” in Portuguese. You can find Malasadas at traditional Hawaiian restaurants and bakeries in the Seattle area, but Oly’s Malasadas is the only business offering these tasty treats in the South Puget Sound region, according to the couple. One of the traditional treats featured at Oly’s Malasadas is called Haupia. It is a malasada with coconut cream filling.
The inspiration to cook up these delightfully unique delicacies comes from a cultural stew of life and travel. Oly’s dad was Filipino. He joined the US military, and throughout life he and his family took to the Hawaiian Islands as a wannabe home and vacation destination.
Oly’s Malasadas is a family business as Oly’s mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law all joined the effort to help the start-up come to life. Max has worked in nearly every facet of the restaurant business in Olympia. Oly trained her social media skills as a hairstylist in the area. He works the backend. She works the frontend. The family of assistants fills in all the gaps in between.
The seed for business was accidentally planted from the boredom of Covid quarantine. The seed sprouted on Instagram where Oly shared her journey with Malasadas. The photo diary turned into personal delivery to the wanting mouths of local Olympia residents. As demand increased the Olympia-based couple decided to turn their at-home business into a brick-and-mortar store open to the public.
The couple changes their menu monthly and they create special themed treats for holidays. The business opened in early June to the public. Business hours are restricted to Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or “until sold out.” On Saturday, July 8, the business was open for less than an hour as all the fried treats were gobbled up. Local residents have figured out quickly to line up early to get their order in before the “sold out today” handwritten sign goes up as the order window closes.
Oly’s Malasadas is located at 1001 4th Ave E in Olympia's east side. The store offers unique juice drinks with Hawaiian roots as well as coffee. Oly and Max recently purchased an oven to add to the equipment list and plan on offering baked goods as well.
Jay Fratt is an Olympia-based writer and entrepreneur. This is his first piece for The JOLT.
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