Poppin fun with Paul's Poppers
-by Rachel Aubrey
Chris and Chad of Salt Lake come in to try Poppers for the first time.
Paul’s Poppers is set to celebrate its one-year anniversary of making mouth-watering poppers. Owner Paul Park has taken a regular appetizer and turned it into something “won”derful. It’s called a Popper, a won-ton wrapper filled with an array of delicious ingredients and lightly fried to a golden perfection.
Park was fortunate enough to learn how to make traditional Chinese won-tons, however, he decided to take the traditional won-ton a step further. After working various jobs in the food industry and taking culinary and entrepreneurial classes at Kapi‘olani Community College, Park set out on his business journey in 2010.
“It was my idea to make a true fusion popper,” said Park.
He began with the original, ground pork, cheese, and jalapeno. As the word got out, more flavors started to develop like the turkey original, turkey melt, pepperoni pizza, cheeseburger, spinach and artichoke, and caprese. The turkey melt is the flavor of choice for those not wanting a hint of spice in their food. Making approximately 3,000 poppers a day is no small task, but Park’s philosophy about his food is simple.
“I want people to be satisfied,” said Park.
In order to make people satisfied, Park offers savory poppers, dessert poppers such as chocolate decadence, lilikoi cheesecake, and strawberry brownie, and local style plate lunches including the “Stevie Wonder.” Inspired by a school friend, the Stevie Wonder is a bed of French fries covered in chicken katsu and topped with a large helping of gravy and cheese. Park offers local breakfast plates; served all day, with a choice of meat and eggs, lunch favorites such as garlic chicken, loco mocos, chicken katsu and a katsu moco. All plate lunches, in true plate lunch fashion, come with rice and house made macaroni salad.
“We make food you can depend on,” said Park. “When you eat food that doesn’t meet your expectations, it’s kind of depressing, I want my customers to be pleased all the time with my food.”
Paul’s Poppers can be found all around Honolulu selling their dependable food: to hungry fans at Aloha Stadium on the weekends during football season, at the Eat the Street event at end of each month, and most recently, to the Shack in Millilani, where Paul’s Poppers will be served, as Paul’s poppers, as an appetizer on the menu. Their main take-out location is in Dilingham.
The most popular popper flavor, according to Park, is the spinach artichoke, with the pepperoni pizza coming in a close second.
“Kids love the pepperoni pizza flavor,” said Park.
Park said that each experience, related to his business, is a learning experience. Some are good and some not so good, but Park admitted that setbacks help you learn in business. His advice to others, wanting to run a successful business, is to work through the setbacks.
Despite not having a large dinning area for his hungry patrons, Park has come to realize that his customers like to take their food to go, with the busy hours being between 12 to 2 p.m. Regular take-out hours are from 10 to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. Paul’s Poppers also does catering and is located at 555 N. King St., #110 and their phone number is 808-352-7583.
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