Saturday, August 15, 2009

Flatbread Company (Paia)

Make sure to check here for more Hawai'i posts!

Update: February 15th, 2011

Flatbread still has it. When you're staying at the Paia Inn, it's pretty much the most convenient place to eat, (just downstairs). "The Mopsy" is THE Hawaiian pizza. In fact, if there's a better one I'd like to taste it. Regina was very adamant about getting her nightly fix of brownie and Roselani haupia ice cream with chocolate sauce. The brownie gets warmed in the oven and develops this charred goodness on the bottom. Even if you can't get to Flatbread, you've got to pick up a carton of that ice cream. It's available at any supermarket in the Hawaiian Islands.

This was the first trip that we had ever stopped at Flatbread in Paia. Located on the corner of the infamous Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue, this pizzeria is THE meeting place for locals and tourists alike in Paia.

While Flatbread appears to be a product of this town’s liberally slanted residents, it’s actually the lone outpost of a small chain of restaurants that started in New England. My guess is that there was no shortage of volunteers to open the one in Hawai’i.

If there was a pizzeria that had to open in a specific town, this would be the perfect marriage. Organic ingredients, as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, and donating a portion of profits to charity are the tenets of Flatbread Company.

When we first walked in about six o’clock the place was almost filled. There were probably more locals than tourists, (which was a good sign). There were actually a lot of families with children, this is a very kid friendly kind of place.

Large and in Charge Wood Fired Clay Oven

The wood-fired clay oven is one of the first things you see when you walk through the door. As we sat down I could just smell these pizzas coming out of the oven, one right after the other. Since we were fairly close to the oven we got a sneak peak at what they were serving up. *Seriously…my stomach is growling right now just writing about them. There is literally saliva filling my mouth as we speak. Gross, but true.* I caught a glimpse of the kalua pork pizza and knew straight away that I was going to get it. My guess is that this is obviously is exclusive to the Paia Flatbread Company. It was absolutely the best Hawaiian pizza I’ve ever tasted. Where most incarnations have just pineapple and ham, this one had kalua pork, red onions, and pineapple. It tasted every bit as good as it looked.

Hawaiian Pizza (The Real Deal)

If there was one downer to our visit, it’s that I didn’t bring my ID. They’re pretty adamant about checking birth dates, so if you want to drink - don’t forget license. The server was not willing to take one of my gray chest hairs as proof of age. Oh well, it’s my fault for not bringing the damn thing with me.

Chalkboard Showing Suppliers

The one aspect of the restaurant I thought was really cool is the chalkboard that lists the companies of the locally sourced food. Chef Michel Nischan at The Dressing Room in Westport, CT actually incorporates little blurbs about his purveyors in his menu. I’ve never understood why more restaurants don’t provide the provenance of their locally sourced food (unless of course it isn’t as local as they would want people to believe). Why not educate your customers about the various growers who are supplying the restaurant? Once people taste good produce and no where it’s coming from, I’m thinking they’re going to want to go to restaurants that cook with it.

As we left, the place was packed and there was a wait. As I said before it’s wildly popular with local families as well as tourists, but if you arrive around six or so it wasn’t full yet. The vibe is awesome, the service is friendly, and most importantly the food is awesome. If you’re hungry bring some stomach room, and if you’re thirsty bring your ID.

89 Hana Hwy
Paia, HI 96779
(808) 579-8820

Flatbread on Urbanspoon

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