Kauai has long had Paco’s Tacos named after Paco Aguilar, co-owner. So it makes sense that Kauai now has Tony’s Pizza, named after Tony Aguilar, Paco’s brother and co-owner of both eateries.
And the real benefit goes to island residents and visitors — great tacos and great pizza.
“We love what we do, so we’re always happy,” said Tony, the eldest brother.
The name of the cozy, clean and warm restaurant at Harbor Mall was changed last week, after 14 months of ownership, from Rocco’s Pizza to Tony’s Pizza. The reason it took so long was simply because of how busy the brothers were with the popular Paco’s Tacos.
With both operations running smoothly, it was the right time for making the name change.
“Now, we can focus on Tony’s Pizza,” Tony Aguilar said.
The offerings are many.
Let’s start with what may be one of the best deals on the island, a $2 slice of pizza. That’s difficult to find anywhere and on a tropical island makes it that much more of a find.
Of course, there are medium and large pizzas, for an affordable $15 and $17, (toppings are another $2 each) and bread sticks for $10. For a little more money, you might want to consider ordering one of the many specialty pizzas, too. Other choices include hot wings, sub sandwiches, salads, pasta bowls and calzones, a new addition, in the $7 to $10 range.
“My favorite is the garden pesto,” Tony said.
If you’re in the mood for dessert, they have Dave’s ice cream, too.
Tony said when he and Paco took over the pizza shop, they made some changes to the crust, the sauce and shook up the recipe a bit. They’ve added pasta items, given diners the choice of adding chicken or shrimp to the dishes, and also have gluten-free items on the menu. They recently introduced pasta Alfredo.
They try to have different daily specials, too.
“It’s pretty simple, our menu,” he said.
A moonlight mural by a friend depicting a scene from Italy adds to the ambiance.
Tony and Paco have more than 20 years of experience in the food service industry. They’ve prepped, cooked and served in restaurants, including five-star hotels, since their teenage years. They came to Kauai eight years ago from Salt Lake City to help a relative open a Mexican restaurant. After working for him for three years, they decided to venture out on their own.
Today, they have Paco’s Tacos in Kapaa and Kilauea, with plans to change the lunch wagon in Kilauea into a lunch house like the one in Kapaa.
The brothers, Tony said, share a love for soccer and a combination of skills that allows their businesses to succeed. They work hard, provide good food and quick service for a fair price, and try to be innovative with their menus.
“Me and my brother, we get along real well,” Tony said.
He recalled when they opened Paco’s Tacos, they used the kitchen at Rocco’s Pizza to prepare some of the food. Paco, after finishing his work for the taco stand, pitched in with the pizzas. He quickly mastered the art of tossing pizzas.
“He learned really fast,” Tony said.
Rocco’s owners were looking to sell their business and soon, Tony, a Kapaa resident, and Paco, a Lihue resident, offered to buy it and now employ seven there.
Tony said it’s hard work operating both taco and pizza businesses, but they have learned to balance their time and talents between both.
“We work together really well,” Tony said.
Their focus, he said, is on local people and what they would like on the menu.
“We’re really grateful to be here on Kauai,” he said.
Tony’s Pizza is at 35001 Rice Street, Suite 107. It is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and offers delivery service in the Lihue area.
For more information call 245-2266.