As I walked in Brick Oven Pizza in Wailua, the first though on my mind was that I am crashing a family party.
I was welcomed with a smile to a red-and-white-pattern covered corner table. From there, I could observe families having dinner, smiling servers walking around talking story with their clients and I could hear laughter coming from the events wing.
As I sat down, I wished I didn’t go alone — it almost felt inappropriate among the family parties of three or more.
“It started as a small mom-and-pop kind of restaurant, and it grew into a successful business,” manager Kassie Tanigawa said.
As one of the co-owner’s sister, Kassie seams proud of what her family and their partners have done.
1977 was the year that the first Brick Oven Pizza opened in Kalaheo by the Demas family. In March 2008 three families — Aguano, Gummerus and Rice (AGR Inc.) — took on ownership. On Dec. 15, 2008, AGR opened its second location at 4-361 Kuhio Highway, Wailua, Kapaa, where I dined.
“They are a successful crew,” manager Tanigawa said. “It’s nice that this is a family restaurant, operated by three families of friends.”
If you are looking for a cozy environment, like I always am in a restaurant, you might be disappointed.
The main hall is extremely big and with a few occupied tables on a Friday night, it felt empty. However, the bar, located in the middle of the establishment was completely occupied. With all the space available, I can see this being the perfect place for a class/family reunion, DJ or live band party. Some Fridays they do have local live music.
“It is fun to see the regulars and catch up,” server Wailana Cantere said. “I’ve been here since the restaurant opened and the owners have been very accommodating.”
The restaurant offers a variety of pizzas made on wheat or white dough with secret recipes for their homemade dressings and sauces, which have been passed to the new owners by the Demas family.
One of their specialties is the garlic butter crust that you can get with any choice of pizza. If you like to have a taste of the restaurant but are not sure what to order, Mondays and Thursdays, from 5 to 9 p.m. are their buffet evenings.
You can pick from the salad bar, pasta, spaghetti, wings, soups and assorted regular and dessert pizzas to name a few items.
The dessert pizza I had was a mix of their two kinds: Creamy Snickers pizza and cinnamon and sugar pizza (small $7.65, medium $9.50). Considering I have never had a sweet pizza, I was pleasantly surprised. The melted chocolate and caramel on the thin crust of the creamy Snickers did the trick.