True story: I’m at Pizza Expo, at the end of a seminar. I literally bump into this guy while getting a cup of coffee. “Where you from I ask?” “Honolulu” he replies. “I’m from Honolulu, too” I say.
Well, needless to say we struck up a conversation. His name is Matt and he explained he and his partner Inthira, just returned from Italy where they studied with the famed pizza master, Enzo Coccia. They are a mission to bring traditional Neapolitan pizza to Honolulu!
I got very excited by this. My friend Jonathan Goldsmith of Sapacca Napoli in Chicago, who was making pizza at the Caputo Flour Booth, had introduced me to Enzo several years earlier. Enzo, was Jonathan’s mentor. “You need to meet Jonathan,” I told them. And so I introduced Matt and Inthira to Jonathan. This was a wonderful meeting of passionate pizzaioli. Honestly, this is something I love to do in my life and is one of the cornerstones of Pizza Therapy: bring people together who share a common love and interest. Mission accomplished!
Months passed as I patiently awaited the opening of an Authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in Honolulu. I’m very pleased to announce Brick Fire Tavern has opened.
Brick Fire Tavern is located in Chinatown, in Honolulu. The area was the old part of the city and has recently had a rebirth. As Matt explained, “Chinatown is a diversified, re-gentrified neighborhood. We really wanted to mix the traditional with the new. We pay homage to traditional pizzas but we also want to put a modern spin on it.”
The philosophy is on their website:
Brick Fire Tavern is a craft pizza restaurant specializing in hand-crafted Neapolitan Pizza paired with select wines and beers, and other seasonal dishes made from scratch. By definition, “craft” in the context of food refers to the expertise in making things by hand, and usually in limited quantities. With this as our core, we offer a hand-made menu of both traditional and innovative cuisine that all comes together with vibrant flavor combinations.
The pizzas were in a word amazing. The Stefano Ferrara Oven is the jewel of the entire restaurant. The seating is comfortable and allows for a family feel. The bar allows you to get up close and personal with the pizzaiolo. You get to see and experience how each pizza is made.
These pizzas are lovingly crafted by hand. The crust is soft and delicious. The crust has a soft, airy feel crammed with flavor. While you can get traditional pizzas, such as the Margherita, there are a few surprises also on the menu. I was especially impressed with the Fungi, which has Besciamella, Mushroom Medley, Mozzarella, Fontina, and Flat Leaf Parsley.
The biggest surprise was the “Real Hawaiian Pizza.” No you will not find pineapple and Canadian Bacon, on this pizza. You will experience local Hawaiian flavors. You will discover, Papaya Puréed Kalo, Local Raised Kalua Pork, Luau Leaf, Mozzarella. The Mozzarella is made in house. The freshness just oozes off this pizza.
All the members in this pizza adventure were impressed. And we vowed to return.
What follows is an interview I conducted with Matt:
Brick Fire Tavern is located in the Chinatown section of Honolulu.
Brick Fire Tavern
16 N Hotel Street | Honolulu | HI 96817