Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: J. Dolan’sRestaurant Insider
August 28, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with J. Dolan’s operations manager KRISTEN ALLSPAW
There’s a little bit of Ireland joining the Kahala neighborhood, as J. Dolan’s opened its second location on Aug. 9 at Kuono Marketplace. The original Irish pub in Chinatown has been serving pizza pies and local beer since 2008.
What makes this second location even more amazing is the outside lanai area that will be able to accommodate about 40 more guests. The interior woodwork is beautiful, and there are two corner booths, one on each side, that can accommodate a big group. Lines start forming outside by about 3:45 p.m., as guests wait to get their hands on a slice of pizza.
I had a chance to sit with operations manager Kristen Allspaw and “handler” Danny Dolan. We grabbed a few slices with pints of Guinness and talked about this new location. With pizza and beer, its cheaper than therapy and way more delicious!
AL: How did this location come about?
KA: Danny’s friend, Andy Friedlander of Colliers, reached out to him about this location. Kuono Marketplace had openings and he asked if he would be interested in coming to this side of the island. Although Chinatown isn’t really that far from this area, we saw the energy that was flowing, the spot was great and the area that this shopping center is located in is a residential area. All it was missing was a neighborhood pub, a gathering place for friends and family.
AL: What makes this location special?
KA: This place has been built/ designed different. It still is reminiscent of our downtown location; same color scheme. We still have the center rail for people to gather and an open kitchen for guests to see the bustle in the kitchen, but we offer an outside lanai at this location, accommodating about 40 seats. This location has lots of free parking, or parking in the neighborhood areas. Our bar seating is the same number of seats; it’s a shorter bar here but much deeper. We even have an ADA-accessible bar area that accommodates two additional seats.
AL: What are the items that we are featuring today?
KA: The Giacomo ($22.50) signature pizza (pronounced “jack-omo) comes with sausage, pepperoni, salami and black olives. Our classic Spinach & Garlic pie ($22) has fresh spinach and chopped garlic with New York-style ricotta.
Our Tossed Green Salad ($9.75) is not your garden variety salad. It’s made with local greens, grape tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, Chinese snow peas, broccoli, red onions and house balsamic vinaigrette. Our popular Caprese Salad ($11.75) has Italian flavor plus Oahu freshness. It comes with Polly-O mozzarella, Hamakua tomatoes and local sweet basil over local greens and house balsamic.
The Chicken Wings ($15) are deep-fried breaded chicken wings served with blue cheese dressing. The Calamari ($14) is hand breaded and then deep-fried (so please be patient) tubes and tentacles with cocktail sauce and a lemon wedge. We use local and sustainable produce whenever possible.
AL: I find this hard to believe, but for those who have never tried the pizza here, can you tell me what guests can experience?
KA: I was born and raised on the East Coast, and this is the closest to a New York-style of pizza that you can find here. When I first experienced J. Dolan’s, I immediately fell in love with this place. It brought a sense of familiarity and authenticity. Our thin crust has secret ingredients to make the dough work, the sauce is made from scratch, and we are very particular with the cheese that we use (Polly-O from the East Coast). We only like to use San Marzano tomatoes, and Fontanini pepperoni — it’s these flavors from New York/New Jersey that will fill your palate.
AL: This neighborhood has a sophisticated palate and affinity for wines. Will this location offer a wine list?
KA: Our Chinatown location has the good standard varieties. This location will have a more extensive list that we are working on — some good quality, approachable by-the-glass and by-the-bottle, so stay tuned for that. Our 12 beer options are the same at each location, and two rotators (but the rotators may not be the same at each location; you never know).
AL: So, the million-dollar question for every pizzeria is delivery. Will this be an option?
KA: We are looking at this as an option for the future. While the new system that we have in place has the capability for online ordering and delivery, at the same time, we are picky about it as we want to ensure the same quality and taste of the product as you would expect when you dine here. Our product can change in that process, so this is a work in progress.