It all started as an idea to raise money to send her daughter on a school trip to Europe a decade ago.
Patricia Hochhaus had learned how to make homemade pasta while studying abroad in Italy while pursuing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture from Rhode Island University and concocted a filling recipe.
The concept for Maui Pasta was born in 2012 when she began selling her homemade pasta that was made from Durham semolina flour infused with fresh Maui herbs out of her driveway and before she knew it, her pasta had left the driveway to appear at farmer’s markets before speeding off to grocery store shelves.
Nearly three years after first selling their first noodles out of her driveway, Patricia and then-husband Ron Inman decided to open up a shop called Maui
Pasta where they could bring the tastes of Italy that Patricia fell in love with while studying in Italy to the big island of Maui.
The two were enthralled to have the space open for business and it became all they ever thought about.
“It was our passion and we spent every minute of the day talking about Maui Pasta and how to build it up,” Patricia said.
Nearly nine months into their business, tragedy struck as Ron was diagnosed with late-stage cancer.
Before his passing two months after his diagnosis, Ron gave his wife a piece of advice that she has carried with her since.
“One of the things my husband told me before he passes was that I could run this by myself,” Patricia said.
However, it proved to be a bigger challenge than she anticipated. Not only did she have to learn how to take on the marketing, administrative and front-of-house responsibilities of the business, but she also had to learn how to do so while nursing a grieving, broken heart.
To cope with her husband’s passing, Patricia joined an online grief support group where she met Stephen Hochhaus, who had lived in Scottsdale his whole life, is the owner of Portfolio Picture Framing, Inc. and had lost his wife in 2011.
A friendship began to brew between the two after they began chatting online.
“He became my best friend in my grief and everything I was going through,” Patricia said.
A painting breaks the ice
In addition to learning how to make delicious pasta during her studies abroad, Patricia had also fallen in love with Italian art and began to take up painting.
As Stephen and Patricia kept conversing, Stephen floated an idea he had been working on to host an art gallery in his shop and donate the proceeds from the sales of art to Hospice — since he felt indebted to Hospice for the care it had provided his wife with before her passing.
Patricia loved the idea and brought one of her favorite paintings with her — a painting titled “The Shadow of Nature” — which portrayed a woman ominously gawking at a hibiscus bush.
The painting caught Stephen’s eye and he knew upon first glance he had to purchase it.
“I was so drawn to that painting that I had to buy it,” Stephen said.
He also bought it with the intention of the painting making it back into Patricia’s possession again someday.
“When I bought that painting, I thought that she was going to get it back one day since it was so important to her,” Stephen said.
The painting would come back as the two would tie the knot in 2017.
Bringing Maui Pasta to the desert Patricia admits that she had never had any intention of ever leaving Maui, but after marrying Stephen her business began to run into some turmoil.
Maui Pasta began having lease issues and even a severe electrical fire.
Although Patricia had tried to find a new space on the island, she ultimately conceded to packing up her kitchen in a pod and joining her husband in the west’s most western town.
After moving to Scottsdale, Patricia spent two months hunting for the best space to set up shop when she found the perfect space in The Shops at Gainey Ranch.
“The property had gone through a transition and this place was the right size,” Patricia said.
The space was also a short drive from the residence she shared with her new spouse.
“We wanted to be kind of close to where we live because, frankly, we go back and forth more than once a day,” Stephen said. “My business is 8-minutes south of where we live and her business is 8-minutes north of where we live.”
The tastes of Maui follow
Nearly three years after opening its Scottsdale shop, it appeared that Patricia was about to turn a profit for the first time in her new space when her business came to a screeching halt — along with the rest of the world.
“We had a really strong lunch before the pandemic and the pandemic hurt us in a lot of ways,” Patricia said. “One of the things we loved about this space is it’s surrounded by office spaces and one level out there are residences. We thought it was perfect because all of the offices could come in for lunch and all the residents could come in for dinner or takeout.”
Looking for a way to re-ignite her business, Patricia decided to gamble by adding the other food she was most familiar with and felt passionate about.
“Pasta is very heavy and we have a lot of hot months, whereas Hawaiian food is food to eat when you’re hot and it’s hot outside,” Patricia said. “I thought that’s the perfect thing to add for when pasta is too heavy for the hot months.”
Because of that, she launched Aloha Hawaiian Plate Lunch.
However, the plates became so popular that people wanted to eat that food for dinner.
Because of that, pasta and Hawaiian lunches are now served on two separate menus simultaneously.
Patricia also began to offer catering packages that serve anywhere from 12 to 200 people to combat the loss of business she endured when the offices sent employees to work at home.
However, the woes have continued as Maui Pasta attempts to recover from the pandemic.
“I always wanted to be open seven days a week all day long so people could always get our food but there’s a cost to that with employees and it’s been about six months where I’ve had to change our hours,” Patricia said. “We won’t stay open for dinner service because we do so much catering for lunch that I have to have two chefs here and I would become too much.”
Maui Pasta is currently open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the cafe and pasta shop and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the eatery, take-out and delivery.
Info: Maui Pasta is located at 7704 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd, mauipasta.com