This frozen Asian foods processor found inspiration in Columbus, Ohio's, Kahiki restaurant.


Frozen Asian entree and appetizers processor Kahiki Foods Inc., Gahanna, Ohio, said it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Kahiki restaurant's opening. Although the  restaurant lives on only in the hearts of Columbus, Ohio-area residents, it inspired the founding of Kahiki Foods, which continues to thrive as a frozen food manufacturer.

Restaurateurs Bill Sapp and Lee Henry opened Columbus' Kahiki restaurant in 1961. Outside the restaurant, patrons were greeted by giant tikis, which welcomed them into a tropical interior -- complete with thatch huts and even a tropical rainforest.

Twenty-seven years after its opening, Michael Tsao purchased the Kahiki restaurant. Seven years later, he founded Kahiki Foods, Inc. and opened a frozen food plant next door to the restaurant. In 2000, Tsao decided to sell the original restaurant property and focus on Kahiki Foods as a premiere provider of frozen Asian foods.

Sadly, Tsao died 10 weeks after Kahiki Foods moved in to a 119,000-square-foot facility.

"He was barely able to see his dream come to fruition," says Jeff Tsao, Tsao's son and Kahiki's director of research and development. "But we aim to continue his legacy of providing extraordinary frozen Asian food."

Tsao says Kahiki is dedicated to using authentic ingredients to make Asian-styled entrees and appetizers. Kahiki currently produces more than 70 products that are available nationwide in retail grocery stores, membership warehouse clubs, convenience stores, and foodservice operations.