Where Z Pure Pizza is MadeColumns Order of the Day
April 17, 2011
Story By: Dining Out Team |
When you think of pizza, “pure” is probably the last word that comes to mind. However, zpizza is changing the definition of this infamous fast food item with its healthy and creative take on the popular pie dish. The restaurant is innovative because of its organic and tasty products, but the Hawaii franchise in particular is undergoing a “pure pizza” revolution, according to owner Cesar Llarenas.
“We started our new tagline this year — ‘the pure one,'” Llarenas says. “It means that zpizza uses the highest-quality and best-tasting ingredients. Our ingredients are fresh, all natural, organic, free of any additives and lower in fats.”
“The ‘pure’ (part of the tagline) is all encompassing,” echoes Karen, Cesar’s wife, who helps with running the franchise. “It tells you what we are about.”
The zpizza chain opened in Hawaii in December 2008, with its first location at Ward Centre. The second zpizza store opened last November in Kailua. Cesar introduced zpizza in Hawaii after years of searching for the right restaurant franchise to own. The chain’s healthy aspect appealed to the Llarenases, as zpizza prides itself on serving delicious products using fresh ingredients.
“The ingredients we use are the highest quality,” Cesar explains. “We use lowfat mozzarella cheese, MSG-free pepperoni and natural chicken. We also offer a gluten-free option (for our crust).”
“Our dough is made fresh daily from 100 percent certified organic wheat,” Karen adds. “Our tomato sauce is also 100 percent certified organic. The unique fusion of gourmet toppings that create savory flavors in our pizzas makes us different. We use ingredients such as capers, truffle oil, shiitake mushrooms and pine nuts.”
The restaurant’s menu offers a variety of selections for pizzas, salads and sandwiches. The average pizza — available in small, large or extra large sizes — costs $13-$15. The Napoli — made with a homemade roasted garlic sauce, Roma tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella cheese — is one of the most popular pizzas. The Arugula Salad and the Pear & Gorgonzola Salad are two of the most highly requested salad entrees. The Rustica pizzas, however, make zpizza’s menu unique, according to Karen.
“The Rusticas set us apart,” she says. “The crust is thinner, crispier and lighter; it’s a free-form pizza.”
While zpizza is already revolutionary in its pie creations, several recent changes have taken place on the Hawaii franchise’s menu. A Berkeley Vegan pizza, in which vegan cheese is used instead of soy cheese, was introduced last summer. “Shareables,” or appetizers, is another recent menu addition. These “Shareables” include the popular Mediterranean Plate, a composed of flatbread and various toppings like cucumbers, Greek olives, feta cheese, roasted peppers and hummus.
What’s not on the menu — but is still available to customers — is the Apple Pie Pizza, zpizza’s only dessert. Covered with mascarpone cheese, roasted Fuji apples, cinnamon brown sugar, toasted almonds, powdered sugar and caramel syrup, the Apple Pie Pizza was part of a previous promotion. It became so popular, though, that the Llarenases decided to unofficially keep the dish as part of the zpizza menu.
“It’s like our ‘secret menu’ item; they (customers) can always ask for it,” Karen affirms.
The restaurant currently has several limited-time promotions. From April 1 to May 24, zpizza is offering a “zpassport” to its customers, in which they receive a sixth pizza free after purchasing five large or extra large “zcreation” pizzas. On April 24, zpizza is offering a “Family Meal Deal for Four” for its Easter promotion. For $48.95, customers will receive two Rusticas or any large pizza, choice of salad, an appetizer plate, four drinks and dessert for four.
While they acknowledge the franchise’s increasing popularity, the Llarenases know more changes are to come for Hawaii’s zpizza. These include opening more stores islandwide, rebranding the company’s image and altering the menu. Despite these future changes, the Llarenases remain committed to serving their health-conscious consumers with delicious gourmet pizzas made with the purest ingredients.
“Our target customers are people who appreciate high-quality gourmet foods that are healthy and nutritious,” Karen says. “They understand the value is in the quality of ingredients and pureness of the product and the value of eating healthy.
“It’s nice that (with zpizza), you don’t have to sacrifice flavor and taste to do that.”
- Ward Centre
- 1200 Ala Moana Boulevard
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- 151 Hekili Street
- Kailua, HI 96734
- (808) 596-0066 (Ward)
- (808) 230-8400 (Kailua)
- 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
- Sunday – Thursday
- 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday