After her restaurant closed, Poi Dog owner switches gears to sauce venture

Kiki Aranita
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kiki Aranita had to close her Rittenhouse restaurant, Poi Dog. However, she's shifting gears into a new business venture: Hawaiian-inspired sauces. Photo credit Kiki Aranita
By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A former restaurant owner, who had to close her eatery due to the coronavirus pandemic, is turning her misfortune into a new business venture.

Kiki Aranita recently launched a sauce business after closing her Rittenhouse restaurant, Poi Dog.

“I’m still awkwardly telling people who are like, ‘Hey, you have a restaurant, right?’ I’m like, ‘Well no, not anymore. I make sauce now,’ ” she said.

She pulls inspiration for the sauces from the flavors of her native Hawaii.

“One is a Maui lavender ponzu, and the other one is a chili pepper water.”

Aranita used to make the vinegar-based chili pepper water in-house at Poi Dog for people to dress up their lunches.

“You kind of dump it on everything,” she added.

Now that she’s selling her sauces, Aranita has received a lot of positive — and creative — feedback.

“A lot of stuff that I just never would’ve even thought of, like my friend texted me and she said, ‘Hey I made bloody marys and I put the chili pepper water in it.’ ”

She said it’s moments like that that inspire her.

“It’s really, really fun creating something that causes other people to be creative.”

For more, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking on the RADIO.COM app.