ZPizza Hawaii

Digest Kitchen Insider

June 16, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much of the credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers, who work diligently day in and day out to make sure their patrons enjoy a memorable dining experience.

This week, Dining Out dropped in on Zpizza owner Cesar Llarenas, who gave us a little taste of why his restaurants remain so popular among pizza lovers.

Name: Cesar Llarenas
Title: Owner of ZPizza at Ward Center and Kailua
Training/Education: 32 years in the food business

Who or what inspires you as an owner? Sid Fanarof, founder of Zpizza International, is a great inspiration. He has put a lot of love and passion into creating tastier pizza and salad at Zpizza. He takes good care of the people who work for him. He created a concept and a product that seemed to me to be ahead of its time, in offering healthy pizzas with natural and organic ingredients. That was why we wanted to bring Zpizza to Hawaii. The ingredients are fresh and the combinations we have are very different.

When people say we have “the best gluten-free pizza,” that is a huge compliment because we want it to taste great and be good for you, too.

What is your favorite dish on the menu?

Mexican Pizza, because it has a unique taste that combines salsa, spicy lime chicken, mozzarella, red onions and is topped with green onions, fresh avocado, sour cream and cilantro. It creates a taste that is somewhat spicy but cool and fresh to your palate. My favorite salad is the Pear Gorgonzola salad, which consists of fresh Waipouli lettuce, gorgonzola cheese and d’Anjou pear. It’s served with a balsamic dressing, and the thing that makes it really special is the house-made candied walnuts on top. It’s a gourmet-style salad that you can get in a casual, quick atmosphere and at a very affordable price!

What is your favorite ingredient to work with?

Our fresh Roasted Garlic Sauce. It’s homemade; you put it in almost any type of food and it enhances the flavor and aroma. Some of our top sellers feature a Roasted Garlic Sauce base instead of a tomato base. The Napoli has roasted garlic sauce, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. The

Casablanca has roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, mushroom and artichoke hearts. The Tuscan, our mushroom pizza that we are promoting this month, has the roasted garlic sauce as its base, crimini, shiitake and button mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta and a touch of thyme. It’s finished with a drizzle of truffle oil over the top.

Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request?

I did not create it, but a customer did and it won a build-your-own-pizza contest we had. It’s called the Pepperoni Caprese Pizza and it has pepperoni, fresh tomato, mozzarella, roasted red pepper, pili pili oil (a spicy pepper-infused olive oil) and fresh basil. It was a special that was discontinued, but if you order it we will still make it for you.

What do you hope to improve at your restaurant?

I would like to create a healthy breakfast menu using our quality ingredients that we already have. It will add another day part to our restaurant so we can open during breakfast hours and improve the utilization of our space.


  • Where
    • Ward Centre
    • 1200 Ala Moana Boulevard
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
    • Kailua
    • 151 Hekili Street
    • Kailua, HI 96734
  • Call
    • (808) 596-0066 (Ward)
    • (808) 230-8400 (Kailua)
  • Hours
    • Ward
    • 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Friday – Saturday
    • Kailua
    • 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
    • Friday – Saturday
  • Website

[cetsEmbedGmap src=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Zpizza,+Ala+Moana+Boulevard,+Honolulu,+HI&aq=0&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=55.323926,114.257812&ie=UTF8&hq=Zpizza,&hnear=Ala+Moana+Blvd,+Honolulu,+Hawaii&ll=21.293023,-157.852249&spn=0.007797,0.013947&t=h&z=17 width=300 height=300 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best