A bell, a baby monitor, and a bunch of homemade pasta. So began Patricia and Ron Inman’s dream.
“Maui Pasta Company started in 2012 when my daughter had to go on a school trip and we decided to raise a little money selling pasta from our driveway,” explains Maui Pasta Company co-founder and executive chef Patricia Inman. “They’d ring a little bell, and we had a baby monitor and it would ring inside the house and we would run out with a little cooler of pasta and sell it to whoever was pulling up.”
From there, they began selling their pasta infused with fresh herbs at the Upcountry Farmers Market. Then, they approached Pukalani Superette.
“They are so wonderful to local vendors and they took us right in; they encouraged us to make hot meals,” says Patricia. “From there, Foodland found us. With that contract, we were able to open up our own commercial kitchen.”
Maui Pasta Company moved into its own standalone building, near Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū, starting with just a to-go window, then opening the doors on its take-out pasta shop in July of 2015, selling all types of Italian specialties made with local ingredients.
Patricia is passionate about Italian food. She lived in Italy for two years; while pursuing her Master’s degree in Architecture, she also took culinary classes and immersed herself in Italian culture. When they started the restaurant, she got to dust off her authentic recipes and get creative.
“What we incorporated from all of those recipes I got from Italy was a very special marinara sauce that’s kind of a hybrid of a couple different regions in Italy that really came together nicely,” she says, adding they also take pride in their alfredo sauce, ravioli cheese base and macadamia nut pesto lasagna, a signature dish.
Meanwhile, Ron was the business department, putting his professional expertise and master’s degree in Finance to work. Patricia says they were a “perfect match,” not just in the pasta shop, but in life. They were matched up 10 years ago on the E-Harmony dating site, and married four months later, because “we knew it was right.”
“I wrote in my little E-Harmony thing, ‘If you don’t wanna move to Maui, don’t bother contacting me,’” she smiles. “He contacted me and he said, ‘Oh my Gosh, I’ve always wanted to live on Maui, I used to paint pictures of Hawai’i when I was a little kid and I want nothing more than to move there.’
Through summer and fall of 2015, the all-consuming, 12-hours days at Maui Pasta were filled with a mix of excitement and exhaustion, with just the two of them running the shop. When Ron started slowing down and feeling extra tired, Patricia says they figured the grueling schedule was getting to him. But, they learned it was more, after closing the shop to visit family in Connecticut over Christmas.
“That’s when Ron started to get sick. He started to get headaches, he got lumps popping up on his body, and he slept and slept and slept,” she says. “He had melanoma two years ago, but he had had it removed, and he had all clean PET scans, but obviously when things started to pop up, it’s what we feared.”
Returning to Maui, Ron collapsed in January. The news from doctors was dire.
“They took the scans and it was all over his lungs, all over his brain, eight tumors in his brain,” explains Patricia, saying Ron did not want chemotherapy or radiation for the metastatic melanoma. “Island Hospice took him in, and so that’s when I started living there and here.”
The space in-between was her car, a red Kia Sportage, that became her private refuge for
“fall-apart moments” and to “ground myself.” It was also Maui Pasta’s delivery vehicle, complete with logos on the doors. The morning of our interview, on Friday, Feb. 19, Patricia tells me that car had been stolen out of the Hospice parking lot.
“Things happen, we get challenged, we try to hold on, but it seems like a lot of blows,” she says.
The call went out on social media, including a post on Maui Now’s Facebook page that received more than 42,000 views. By Monday, her car had been found  in-tact, in the Queen Ka’ahumanu Shopping Center parking lot.
“We went from one day at a time to one hour at a time to one minute at a time, and then it went down to one breath at a time. That’s all you can do, right? I love him to death and I’m just going to keep going there and taking care for as long as I have, and try to hold onto the business,” she told me on Feb. 19.
Five days later, she was there, by his side at hospice, when Ron passed away.
“His dream of Maui Pasta will now be his legacy with all of your amazing support and love,” Patricia wrote on her GoFundMe page , which she started to help cover mounting bills and afford to pay her new employees, who she says are “like family.” The site exceeded its donation goal of $20,000 within just 16 days, and a growing number customers have come through the doors in support of Patricia and Ron.
“We appreciate your support so much,” Patricia’s post continues. “Maui Pasta is still open, with an amazing team keeping it going while I try to pick up some of the million pieces of my broken heart.”
If you’d like to learn more about Maui Pasta Company, please click here .