Take A Bite Out Of The Big AppleCover Story
March 4, 2018
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Yellow Cab
If an award for the most colorful storefront existed, Yellow Cab Pizza Co. might leave its competitors in the dust.
The exterior of Honolulu’s hottest new pizza joint, which faces the entrance doors of the Iwilei Costco, is unmistakable: It’s an eye-popping shade of banana yellow with black trim, fronted by a big industrial pipe painted brilliant fire-engine red.
Inside, the exuberantly youthful theme continues, with exposed bulb lighting, stylized checkerboard paint and graffiti murals, and giant photos depicting New York City, the place that inspired Yellow Cab’s cuisine.
“But it’s not just for young people,” says general manager Maly San Luis, chuckling. “Families, people on dates, sports teams … we’re getting a wide range of customers, all looking for a fun place.”
The first branch of Yellow Cab Pizza Co. opened in Manila in 2001 with a simple mission: to share a slice of the Big Apple with the Philippines. The owners, a trio of Filipino businessmen, loved their experience of New York-style pizza: “crisp and slightly charred on the bottom, dense and chewy in the middle, slightly gooey on top,” as it’s described on Yellow Cab’s website.
With the opening of its Iwilei location in January 2017, Yellow Cab launched its very first U.S. venture. The chain has more than 145 branches internationally, and new stores are forthcoming in Kuwait, Canada, Vietnam, and domestically on the West Coast.
“It’s fun to work with the Yellow Cab Pizza menu because it’s so colorful, with all the veggies and toppings!” says San Luis, adding that pizza is just the b e g i nning of a list of mouthwatering possibilities. “We do wings, salads and a lot of pasta. We’ve also just launched some new desserts, and a month ago we started offering the MyMix Combo ($25.75; see sidebar for more details).”
Chicken Wings (regularly $6.75 for an order of six; $5.75 during happy hour) are the savory cornerstone of the combo. Available in Hot, Barbecue, or Garlic Parmesan flavors, they’re accompanied by Yellow Cab’s house-made garlic ranch dip.
Another combo option, the Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta (usually $8.95) is a customer favorite.”It’s almost like Kung Pao chicken, a little spicy, with shiitake mushrooms and roasted peanuts,” says San Luis. For a little extra, combos can include Seafood Alfredo Pasta (regularly $12.95), with shrimp, mussels and calamari.
For lighter fare, try the Dear Darla specialty hand-rolled pizzas ($11.95 each). There’s Ricotta Cheese & Roasted Garlic with mozzarella and romano and topped with ricotta and roasted garlic; or the Original option with vegetables and pepperoni. Both of them are topped with fresh greens and alfalfa sprouts, and the thin crusts are cut into strips, perfect for rolling into bite-sized morsels.
And the Four Seasons Pizza ($9.95 for 10-inch, $14.95 for 14-inch, $18.95 for 18-inch) truly is a pie for all seasons. Each quarter of this people-pleasing pie is topped with one of Yellow Cab’s four most popular recipes: NY Classic (pepperoni); No. 4 Cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and feta); Barbecue Chicken; and Roasted Garlic & Shrimp. “It’s perfect for those who can’t decide on just one pizza!” says San Luis.
Those 21 and older also can enjoy beer and wine with their meals at Yellow Cab. Happy hour (2:30-5:30 p.m.) is an especially good time to sip away, when beer is $2.75 by the glass ($3.75 regularly) or $10 for a pitcher ($12.50 regularly).
Mix Things Up
For only $25.75, Yellow Cab’s new MyMix Combo provides seriously tasty fare for a couple of hungry diners. The combo includes a 10-inch Classic pizza, an order of Classic pasta, an order of wings, and two sodas. “If you want to upgrade to a Specialty pizza, just pay the difference,” explains general manager Maly San Luis. “There’s plenty for two!” Eat in-house, visit yellowcabpizzahawaii.menufy.com to order online, or search for Yellow Cab on your favorite delivery app.
It’s time for a Yellow Cab pizza party. If you’re looking for a great space for a meeting, sales pitch, post-game celebration or baby shower, Yellow Cab has party packages, a catering menu, and a private room with a big TV screen that seats about 35. “For larger groups, we just flip things around and make our main dining room the party room,” says San Luis.