Perfect pies

Cover Story

August 1, 2021

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Lead pizzaiola Alyssa Willis prepares her personal creation, the Sweet Calabria ($23).

A “pizza pie in the sky” dream, coupled with the passion for pizza of founders Inthira Marks and Matthew Resich, was realized when Brick Fire Tavern Chinatown opened as a 42-seat restaurant in October 2016, and specialized in Napoletana craft pizza paired with beer, wine, handcrafted cocktails and Italian-inspired dishes.

According to Resich, a partner in the restaurant, Brick Fire Tavern Kaimuki was slated to serve as a second location for the brand, and construction started in late 2019. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the restaurateurs had to make some tough decisions and the call was made to close the operation in Chinatown and make the Kaimuki location, which is situated conveniently at the intersection of Waialae and 9th avenues, its flagship restaurant. Brick Fire Tavern is back in business with enhanced safety protocols, including spaced-out tables and operating at partial capacity as the team grows into the new space.

Big Island Lamb Lasagna ($28)
This dish is constructed with a lamb ragu, mint ricotta, mozzarella and braised lamb shank.

“Now, almost a year later, we are thrilled with the outcome,” Resich says. “Our goal going into the new location was to enhance and expand on all that we do, starting with the Kaimuki space being larger than the original, with twice the square feet and 50% more seating, as well as adding a full kitchen to expand the menu to include pasta dishes and soon-to-be-created entrées, and the same for the bar offerings: adding to the wine list, cocktail program and general offerings to match our goals of elevated options.”

Diners can look forward to Brick Fire Tavern’s diverse dinner menu, which includes fresh summer favorites like Roasted Beets ($13) prepared with orange, mint, mozzarella mousse, pistachios and a white balsamic glaze, and Snap Pea Gnocchetti ($23) with crispy pancetta and sugar snap peas.

Clam-Ciale ($21)

The restaurant is also drawing rave reviews for its Big Island Lamb Lasagna ($28), which is constructed with a lamb ragu, mint ricotta, mozzarella and braised lamb shank. Seafood fans are in for a treat as Kauai Shrimp Bucatini ($24) combines the succulent shrimp with pesto and Calabrian chiles.

Kauai Shrimp Bucatini ($24)

Brick Fire Tavern’s team takes pride in being “Napoli inspired, but locally crafted.” The restaurant’s commitment to its ono food and philosophy around preparing it has led to the establishment earning the coveted Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification, the only eatery on the island to do so.

Roasted Beets ($13)

“The VPN certification is definitely an honor for us, especially knowing that there are only 94 restaurants in the U.S. that have earned this. We feel that we are doing something right,” Resich says. “But, more so, it is a reminder of our philosophy when it comes to food. Pizza Napoletana is one of the oldest styles of known pizza, and certainly the ancestor of all pizza as we know it in America, but it was created over a thousand years of global influence and contributions.”

Be sure to try Brick Fire Tavern’s new pizzas (available all day) including Clam-Ciale ($21) with chopped clams and caramelized onion besciamella; Sweet Calabria ($23) featuring ‘Nduja salami and local honey; and Millennium Falco/Roberta’s NYC ($20) made with San Marzano tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, breadcrumbs, shaved Parmesan cheese, olive oil, red onions and Pono Pork sausage.

3447 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

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