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We are a small but passionate company located in Honolulu, Hawaii.
How it all began
It all started almost 30 years ago in San Jose, California. Minato’s Japanese restaurant opened its doors in the heart of Silicon Valley.
There were a lot of other Japanese restaurants around the area but to Mac they all seemed the same. All of the restaurants were very authentic with waitresses in kimono serving sashimi and tempura.
Mac wanted to make his restaurant different. To make it “young” and “sensational”! He decided to hire younger staff and instead of the traditional kimono, had everyone wear shorts and “happi” coats to the restaurant. The food was also non-traditional, serving a fusion of Japanese and American foods.
Just as Mac was building his restaurant so was everything else around his restaurant. With the tech boom many of the major tech companies were moving in, along with a lot of the younger workforce.
Mac’s restaurant of making Japanese food more casual and less intimidating soon caught on by many of the people living in and around Silicon Valley.
Another thing Mac noticed was that a lot of the Japanese restaurants didn’t service salads and for some of those that did, all used the same miso based dressing. Mac decided to create his own dressing to serve in his restaurant. It was a dressing that had texture with a sweet and tangy taste to it. No one knew what it was called or knew what it was made of; it was just Minato’s house dressing. This dressing was later to be known as Minato’s Pineapple dressing.
People started to come back and ask where they can buy the dressing. For almost 20 years only a few select customers were able to buy the house dressing in cups.
In 2001 Minato’s moved to Hawaii. Even in Hawaii people were still asking Mac where they can buy the dressing. In 2002, encouraged by the number of people asking for the dressing both in California and Hawaii, Mac decided to bottle the house dressing and make it available for the public. People could now buy the dressing at the restaurant.
With more and more demand, the dressings soon spread beyond the restaurant and into the local stores in Hawaii. Starting 2003 the dressings were made available in many of the local supermarkets.
In 2004 Japan Air Lines also started using the Pineapple dressing for all of their in flight meals from Honolulu to Japan.
In 2005 the dressings were made more accessible to tourists who visit Hawaii by offering them at many of the ABC stores in Waikiki and at the Dole Plantation.
As the dressing spread into many of the stores, there were more and more requests to have different types of dressings. This resulted in the creation of the Maui Onion and Honey Lemon dressings.
The dressing also spread into the military community as well. Minato’s Pineapple Dressing was selected by the Department of Defense Defense Commissary Agency to offer the dressing for many of the military families in Hawaii.
A New Beginning
All this time the dressing was still made in their restaurant. Soon it was realized that the demand was growing so great that it became difficult to continue the operation in the restaurant.
In 2006 Minato’s Hawaii was born as Minato’s dressing division and moved into a factory specializing in the creation of many of their sauces and seasonings.
Minato’s still continues to work with new ideas and come up with many different types of dressings and sauces. Minato’s uses ingredients from Hawaii to share the taste of the islands both for the local people and for those who come and visit.
Minato’s Hawaii now has many different flavors to meet with the growing market and to the tastes of many who enjoy the taste of Minato’s. Please enjoy and we offer you to take a taste of Hawaii home with you.