What started as a way to share the traditional flavors he grew up with in Hawaii with friends after he moved to Reno, has turned into a full-scale business, albeit still on a small enough scale for two people to operate.
“I always had made my teriyaki sauce and gave it away at Christmas,” said George Kapahee, a Native Hawaiian born and raised in Maui and who moved to Reno in 1971.
At the urging of those gift recipients, he eventually ventured into a small commercial operation. He sold his first bottle of pineapple plum teriyaki sauce in 2009.
Fast forward to 2015, and Mr. G’s Hawaii-Style Teriyaki sauce is now sold in numerous stores in the region, including Raley’s, Scolari’s and Whole Foods Market, as well as smaller local stores like Buy Nevada First.
Mr. G’s makes eight sauces, including the original pineapple plum teriyaki.
Even with the added work of keeping up with demand, Mr. G’s sauces are still made by hand, bottled and distributed by Kapahee and his wife of almost 32 years, Susie.
“We do it all,” he said.
And he’s continually working on new recipes. They launched their eighth sauce: hula hula sauce April 11 at Whole Foods. Other stores will start carrying it after paperwork goes through.
Kapahee’s hula hula sauce is based on his father’s recipe for Huli Huli sauce, used on traditional, slow-grilled chicken that can be found at roadside stands all over the Hawaiian Islands.
“It’s a popular item in the Islands. My dad had his version,” Kapahee said.
“My recipes and the flavors all come from Hawaii and remembering the flavors I grew up with.”