Pizza in its prime
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For 20 years now, Hawaii’s pizza scene has been all the better for having Boston’s North End Pizza a part of it. If one bite of the cheesy slices — known for their gigantic sizes and bubbly crusts — aren’t enough to convince you of their authentic Massachusetts origins, one conversation with the pizzeria’s personable owner, Mike Bianchi, will have you persuaded. His Boston accent is as truly bred on the East Coast as his renowned dough recipe, and his longstanding work ethic results in pizza you won’t find anywhere else.
Before moving to the Islands and opening the first Kailua shop on Hoolai Street in 1994, Bianchi worked tirelessly in Boston to learn the nuances of pizza making, while running convenience stores by day and perfecting his baking techniques by night. He says it was a labor of love worth pursuing. “It never felt like work because it was something that I wanted to do.”
Bianchi’s efforts led him to open numerous successful pizza shops around Oahu over the last two decades, of which he currently owns and operates the two Kailua-based locations that carry the Boston’s North End Pizza name.
The owner excitedly speaks of his newest locale, which opened its doors Jan. 1 at Aikahi Park Shopping Center. The family-friendly pizzeria has been a hit among patrons in the surrounding Kalaheo Hillside, Marine Corps Base and Aikahi areas, and often has a line out the door on Friday and Saturday nights.
“When I came out here 20 years ago, the pillars that (Boston’s North End Pizza) was based on were quality, quantity and price, and we’ve held to that,” explains the owner.
Seeing those pillars of operation through, Bianchi and his staff keep quality at its best by utilizing prime produce — never frozen — to allow the ingredients’ true flavors to shine.
“Our sauce is simply fresh. There’s no added sugars, salts, it’s not from concentrate (and it features) California Wine Country tomatoes,” describes Bianchi. “That’s where our freshness pops. A lot of places use spices and hot pepper — that’s always covering something. That’s why we don’t do that. When you have our pizza, everything about it is fresh: freshly sliced vegetables, fresh sauce, fresh cheese.”
The cheese is whole milk mozzarella, to be exact, and it’s used to create a plethora of pies, from classic Cheese to a unique Carbonara Pizza ($7.53 slice, $30.31 pie), presenting spinach, garlic, onion, ham and bacon fixings. The Boston Special ($7.53 slice, $30.31 pie) also kicks up the toppings factor with pepperoni, black olives, onions, green peppers and mushrooms.
As many pizza fanatics will tell you, the foundation of any stellar slice is the dough. Boston’s is both crispy on the outside and a chewy dream on the inside. The key to preparing it is paying attention to details such as temperature and humidity in the weather. These let Bianchi know how to adjust the proofing process, or how long the dough sits. “Having the perfect dough isn’t a science; it’s more of an eye,” he says.
In addition to the pizza, a number of Boston’s signature dishes showcase the dough. Calzones ($5 each) and Strombolis ($4 each) are two mouthwatering styles of bready pockets that hold a range of warm, melted fillings, while Garlic Knots ($4) are bite-sized pieces of dough smothered in garlic sauce and Pecorino Romano cheese, and served with marinara on the side.
As a special scoop for Dining Out readers, Boston’s North End Pizza is serving up savings you won’t want to miss. Now through Wednesday, June 4, diners can purchase a $35 voucher for just $20 via HotDealsHawaii.com. Patrons can choose between the Kailua or Aikahi locations to use the voucher, and once purchased, the certificates can be redeemed from June 5 to Dec. 5 of this year. Vouchers may be used once per party, per visit. This special Hot Deal may not be combined with any other offers, promotions or coupons.
Additionally, the eatery offers a discount of $1 off slices and $5 off whole pies to military patrons with valid I.D.
There’s plenty to look forward to at Boston’s North End Pizza, as Bianchi plans on unveiling a menu of Italian comfort foods at the Aikahi location in three months or so. From Lasagna to Eggplant Parmesan, the items will be available for dine-in or takeout. Delivery service to the Marine Corps Base also is in the works for the near future.
Boston’s North End Pizza Bakery
Aikahi Park Shopping Center
25 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Kailua
Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.