ZPizza for the Purest of PalatesCover Story Features
November 4, 2012
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel
Having emerged from its Southern California roots in Laguna Beach, Zpizza made Hawaii its home nearly four years ago. The first location made a name for itself at Ward Centers in 2008 with a second location popping up in Kailua (151 Hekili St.) in 2010. Known as the purest breed of pizzas, Zpizza is not your typical pie as it’s geared toward the health conscious, with its premier quality and use of the freshest ingredients.
Hawaii owner Cesar Llarenas truly believes in guilt-free Italian cuisine.
“Zpizza was always something that I was very passionate about. By opening a Zpizza franchise, I was able to give back to the community by promoting a healthy type of food,” he says. “At Zpizza, making pizza is a culinary art. Not only do the fusion of creative flavors taste great, but it is a healthier option for a healthier lifestyle.”
Zpizza stands by its 100 percent certified organic wheat flour and tomato sauce, and its fresh, all-natural toppings, such as bell peppers, shiitake, cremini and button mushrooms, zucchini, artichokes, eggplant, capers, basil, Greek olives, truffle oil, feta, ricotta and gorgonzola cheese. No MSG, nitrates or additives are added to the fare, and many of the ingredients are free of antibiotics and growth hormones as well.
“There have been a lot more requests for gluten-free items and vegan pizza. Also, our vegetarian options are very popular,” Llarenas says, adding that a gluten-free option is available for the small and large size pizzas.
Calorie counting? Zpizza offers calorie counts on its menu, but Llarenas assures that Zpizza’s caloric, fat, sodium and carbohydrate content is never alarming. For instance, Napoli Pizza ($13.25 small, $24.50 large, $27.75 extra-large) has 150-340 calories per slice and features a pizza pie topped with homemade roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, fresh rounds of tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. ZBQ Pizza ($13.25 small, $24.50 large, $27.75 extra-large) has 160-350 calories per slice and makes mouths water with its savory barbecue sauce, mozzarella, morsels of barbecue chicken, roasted peppers, red onions, fresh tomatoes, cilantro and sweet corn. Other Zpizza classic creations include Santa Fe Pizza $13.25 small, $24.50 large, $27.75 extra-large), which presents you with robust flavors of chipotle pesto, mozzarella, chicken sausage, red onions, corn, Serrano chilies, tomatoes and cilantro, and Casablanca Pizza ($13.25 small, $24.50 large, $27.75 extra-large) with a luscious blend of roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and Parmesan.
For a crispier, crunchier crust move on to the rustica pizzas portion of the menu and select from a slew of choices. Available with a regular or wheat crust, all rustica pizzas serve one to two individuals, and Llarenas highly recommends Moroccan Pizza ($13.25), an intriguing option, which consists of basil pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onions and a touch of pine nuts.
Of course, you can always take the classic approach and opt for cheese, pepperoni, and ham and pineapple pizza, but it’s the eclectic variety of toppings that makes Zpizza fare so invigorating and stimulating to the palate.
“People are growing accustomed to what Zpizza has to offer. We’re a healthier option and that’s why people come to us — when trying to eat healthy, we are hassle-free,” Llarenas states. “And what a lot of people don’t realize is that we provide our customers with a complimentary delivery service. We deliver to all of Kailua and within a one-mile radius of our Ward restaurant. You can place your order online at Zpizza.com.”
In honor of Zpizza Kailua’s two-year anniversary this month and Zpizza Ward’s four-year anniversary in December, customers are encouraged to take advantage of the restaurant’s Nov.
21 anniversary special. Zpizza will offer $2 off a small pizza, $3 off a large pizza and $4 off an extra-large pizza all day (no coupons are required).
“I’d like to thank all of our customers for their patronage and loyalty all these years. Without them we wouldn’t be here.
“So, if you’re busy preparing for Thanksgiving, order lunch or dinner at Zpizza and we’ll do the clean up,” Llarenas says with a laugh.
A half-and-half option on large and extra-large pizzas is heaven sent for indecisive patrons, and pizza by the slice ($3.50 each) and combo meal deals are perfect for the individual diner.
A combo meal with two slices of pizza and a drink costs $8.25 and a meal featuring one slice of pizza, one side salad (caesar or mixed greens) and a drink is priced at $8.95.
“Just because we use the best ingredients doesn’t mean that we’re not affordable. We have some customers who dine with us every day, in fact,” Llarenas states.
Although the restaurant’s pizza is first on patrons’ minds, Zpizza also is renowned for its salads, sandwiches and pastas. Llarenas says Chicken Penne Pesto ($9.25) is a must-try, in addition to Apple Fresco Salad. Priced at $8.50 for a small size and $10.90 for a large, this rejuvenating salad is available for a limited time only, and is a mix of savory and sweet. It’s made with Waiopouli lettuce, dried cranberries, Gala apples, goat cheese, toasted almonds and splashed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
And on a sweeter note, Zpizza has now added Italian-style gelato and sorbetto to its menu. Select among decadent gellato flavors, such as chocolate, Kona coffee and macadamia nut, and fresh sorbetto flavors such as lychee.
“Zpizza constantly proves that eating healthy can be filling and taste good — food has to taste good to be successful.
“There have been many challenges along the way, but I believe our customers really get what we stand for,” Llarenas says. “The health conscious are very loyal to us. These are the people who we like to attract, and it’s important to us that we always give you a healthier choice,” he adds.
1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
151 Hekili St., Kailua
Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.