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Putting a Healthy Spin on Italian Classics

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Nathalie Walker
January 11, 2015

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Following a concept devised nearly 30 years ago in Laguna Beach, Calif., zpizza continues to serve up tasty cuisine that, while flavorful, also features healthy recipes composed of fresh, natural ingredients.

The restaurant made its way to the Islands in December 2008, and as local diners have discovered, zpizza cuisine tastes great and offers a healthy spin on Italian fare via the use of certified organic tomato sauce, non-GMO flour and RBGH-free part-skim mozzarella cheese from grass-fed cows in Wisconsin. The establishment also features nitrate, preservative- and MSG-free pepperoni and hormone-free chicken breast in addition to a host of other flavorful toppings such as shiitake mushrooms, arugula and truffle oil, just to name a few.

“Once you try our pizza, you won’t want to go back to the other guys,” says co-owner Cesar Llarenas, who operates Oahu’s two zpizza locations — Ward and Kailua — along with wife Karen. Utilizing a brick oven heated to 600 degrees, zpizza cooks each pizza to perfection with a signature crispy crust.

Patrons may choose from a host of traditional recipes, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free pizzas. Many loyal guests rave about American ($13.95 small, $25.95 large and $28.95 extra-large) Pizza, which features organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, rounds of fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and red onions. Diners also may build their own pizza pie with a host of options, including wheat and gluten-free crusts, basil pesto, barbecue, chipotle pesto, marinara, roasted garlic, Thai peanut or tomato sauces, and a choice of Feta, gorgonzola, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone and ricotta cheeses. Pizza also is available by the slice for $3.50 each, with cheese and pepperoni varieties, along with meat and vegetable selections that rotate daily.

“We’ve got everything from traditional pizzas to options for health-conscious diners, including vegetarian and gluten-free varieties,” Karen explains. “We offer ingredients such as capers and shiitake mushrooms that the ordinary pizza places don’t have.”

A collection of rustic flatbreads is yet another option at zpizza, with appetizing choices such as Mediterranean Rustica ($13.95), composed of mozzarella, feta, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, Greek olives, oregano and pili pili oil — an herb-and-spice blend infused with olive oil drizzled atop the crispy, crunchy crust.

An array of salads also represents a portion of the eclectic menu, including Pear & Gorgonzola ($9.25), a masterful combination of mixed greens from a hydroponic farm in Kula, Maui, pears, gorgonzola and roasted candied walnuts with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Succulent zWings ($9.75) steal the show on the “shareables” section of the menu. The juicy, hormone-free, range-raised chicken wings are tossed in a tangy Buffalo or sweet barbecue sauce and served with ranch dipping sauce. For dessert, zpizza serves up gourmet cupcakes ($2.95 each), from vanilla bean to red velvet, with no artificial coloring.

Diners at zpizza are treated to ample complimentary parking in the Ward complex, and are reminded of the weekly “Military Monday” and “Senior Tuesday” promotions, during which those with military ID and patrons age 55 and up receive 10 percent off Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Patrons also are encouraged to order online via zpizza.com.

zpizza

Ward
Ward Centre
1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
596-0066
Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Kailua
151 Hekili St.
230-8400
Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.