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Inside Feature

Inferno’s Ignites Hawaii’s Passion for Pizza

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
May 26, 2013

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With a large brick oven stoked with kiawe wood and its resulting sweet, smoky aroma ready and rearing to go, Inferno’s Wood Fire Pizza has ignited Hawaii’s hunger for quality pizza pies.

Each pizza at Inferno’s is hand-crafted and prepared with the finest, freshest ingredients, and baked to crispy perfection at 800 degrees in the distinctive dome-shaped oven dubbed “The Beast.” The business concept started as a mobile wood-fire pizza operation, and the pizzas’ popularity produced the permanent Ward Center location.

“The pizzas are really just based on what people like here, and feature whatever local ingredients we can get,” says owner Kyle Okumoto. “We make the dough fresh daily with flour from Italy. We use kiawe wood in the oven to create that flavor from the smoke, and the pizza cooks really fast so the crust is nice and crispy.”

One of the distinctive pizzas offered up at Inferno’s is Guava Smoked Pork ($16), which features fresh mozzarella cheese, local Shinsato guava-smoked pork, fresh mushrooms, Maui onions and a locally crafted Kilauea barbecue sauce available in both spicy and mild. The sweet and savory pork coupled with the tangy barbecue sauce and crisp onions create a must-try assortment of flavors.

For those diners who prefer a hearty helping of fresh vegetables, Inferno’s serves up a Veggie ($15) pizza, which includes fresh mozzarella, fresh mushrooms and Maui onions, local tomatoes and olives. Margherita ($14) features a classic blend of fresh mozzarella, and local basil and tomatoes. Similarly, Spinach Garlic Tomato ($14) produces plenty of flavorful garlic, fresh mozzarella, spinach and local Roma tomatoes.

Those diners craving an extra level of heat can reach for Chicken Ranch Jalapeno ($16) pizza, which features jalapenos, spinach, mushrooms, olives and roasted chicken.

“It’s a way different pizza, a much better product than what you get at other pizza establishments,” says Okumoto. “You’ve got to try it. It’s an authentic, Neapolitan style pizza,” which is heralded for its hand-kneaded dough that bakes crispy on the outside while remaining tender and aromatic.

Prior to picking one’s favorite pizza, Infernos’ also satisfies diners with an array of appetizers including Potato Skins ($8 with Bacon and Cheese, Pepperoni or Sausage) or French Fries ($6 for plain, $8 for Bacon and Cheddar). Fresh salads also are available as the House Spring Mix ($4 for small, $8 for large) is accompanied by house-made pomegranate or strawberry vinaigrette.

The multiple pizza selections at Inferno’s pair perfectly with the locally brewed beers crafted and served at the eatery. Hawaiian Islands Brewing Company has partnered with Inferno’s, tapping into a host of local flavor profiles that come through in the freshly brewed beverages.

The Lei O’ Mano IPA, HI Brew Lager, Diamond Head Gold Ale and Akamai Amber Ale ($5 per pint) flow from the taps as do Mac Nut Brown Ale and Kona Coffee Stout ($6 per pint), which have drawn rave reviews from customers thus far. The latter features hints of authentic Kona coffee that provides a bold, full-bodied flavor that truly embodies one of the state’s most popular exports. Mango Wheat Ale ($5 per pint) puts a local spin on the Belgian wheat-style beer that is both flavorful with hints of sweet fruit and easy to drink, while newly added Imperial IPA and Barley-Wine ($10 per pint) please the palate one pint at a time.

The ice-cold brews are available from Inferno’s full bar, and diners can order them by the glass as the piping hot pizzas are brought to the table. The beer also is available to go in the form of 64-ounce growlers ($18), which can be refilled over and over for $12 — a delicious and cost-effective option for tailgating and large gatherings.

Inferno’s also serves up happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, and includes $3 pints of most beer selections. The special drink menu also includes specialty dinks and cocktails for $3 apiece, including Sake-Tinis with fresh citrus and cranberry juices, Sriracha Bloody Mary and Margarita of the Mayans. The eatery recently introduced live music performances every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 5 to 9 p.m. by various local artists.

Just in time for graduation season, Inferno’s is ready to help with hosting parties and large get-togethers for all occasions. The restaurant even features a special in-house catering menu, and those interested are encouraged to call 375-1200 for more details and information.

Stop in today, and grab a slice — and pint — of paradise.

InfernosPizzaHawaii.com