April 26th, 2018

Brick Fire Tavern Offers Handcrafted Pizzas Perfect for the Picky Eater

Ask anyone how they like their pizza, and you’ll likely get a very passionate response.

Some are diehard deep-dish fans, while others say if ain’t thin, crisp and slightly charred, fuhgeddaboudit!

At Brick Fire Tavern, a cozy pizzeria and bar on North Hotel Street, even the pickiest of pizza-lovers will find something to suit their taste.

Owned and operated by partners Inthira Marks and Matthew Resich, Brick Fire Tavern was born from the duo’s mutual desire to deliver authentic Neapolitan pizza using fresh, local, season products from their island home.

The preference is always to source ingredients locally first; however, as this can be challenging at times when living on an island, where resources are limited by nature, Resich says that they will go elsewhere when necessary as not to sacrifice the final product that winds up on your plate.

This dedication to quality ingredients stems from Marks and Resich’s tutelage under famed pizzaiola Enzo Coccia (one of the founding members of the Association Vera Pizza Napoletana) and his master doughmaker, Davide Bruno. The pair were lucky enough to travel to Naples, Italy, to learn the craft of pizza-making first-hand, as well as stage (intern) at Pizzaria La Notizia 94, one of Coccia's restaurants showcasing modern flavors and creations using traditional cooking techniques.

Marks and Resich brought back to Hawaii not only the skill and craft necessary to make a crowd-pleasing pizza – they also commissioned third-generation Naples oven-builder Stefano Ferrara to construct a wood-fired brick oven just for their restaurant.

Now a centerpiece of the restaurant, the brick-fire oven also showcases the duo’s dedication to preparing their pies fresh – another reason Resich says they are able to accommodate a range of dietary tastes.

“A lot of people come in asking for modifications,” he says.

Those who are vegan and lactose intolerant can order their pizzas sans cheese, or try the Vegan Monster. Just as its name implies, this pizza is meat- and dairy-free but loaded with local, organic veggies and herbs, including onion, basil, mushrooms and olives.

Another vegetarian option is the Fungi Pizza. Made with local and organic ingredients, this pizza does come with a generous helping of cheese, so be sure to specify any changes you’d like made.

As for those with a gluten intolerance or looking to go low-carb (Paleo, Keto, etc.), a salad is your best bet. Resich recommends the Wedge – local, organic Waipoli lettuce, tomatoes, Pono Pork and bleu cheese smothered in a creamy dressing.

A word of caution for those with Celiac disease – while they are able to modify certain dishes to be wheat-free, the openness of the kitchen layout and method in which they hand-prepare the dough causes small particles of flour to circulate through the air in the restaurant.

“If you look closely, you’ll see flour on the walls and seats, which is why we clean everything thoroughly throughout the day,” Resich says. “This flour is ultra-fine and really does go everywhere, and so while we can say we have wheat-free items for those with a non-gluten preference, because of the severity of the disease, we should be clear: we cannot confirm the lack of gluten in any dish at this time.” 

Although they don’t offer gluten-free pizza at the moment, they do hope to one day add some to their ever-evolving menu. At the time of this post, Resich had recently returned from the International Pizza Expo, the world’s largest pizza industry show held annually in Las Vegas, where he had gone to investigate what options are available in the dough arena.

“In Rome, there’s a ton of restaurants with gluten-free pizzas – there’s even a logo or symbol that you see for gluten-free!” he says.

Now a little more than a year into the restaurant game, Brick Fire Tavern has secured itself a prime stomping ground among the downtown working force and college crowd.

While they are looking at other locations for future expansion – Resich hints that opening a few outposts in the mainland is a strong possibility – at the moment, the original locale is their only current spot in the state.

And while the debate over what kind of pizza reigns supreme, one thing’s for certain – Brick Fire Tavern is just heating up. I can’t wait to see what Marks and Resich will craft up next.

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