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Friday, December 6, 2013

Agostino's: pizza by a seventh-generation Sicilian in Waikiki

Agostino sliding a pizza into his wood-fired oven

"Do you have Hawaiian pizza?" asks a man stopping in front of Agostino's, the pizza trailer in a Kuhio Street parking lot. "Here, it's just called 'regular pizza.'"

Nobody says anything.

He persists: "You know, pizza with pineapple?"

Finally, Agostino, the owner, stops making pizzas to say, "This is Sicilian pizza. No pineapples. In Italy, we believe pineapple is for dessert."

The guy settles for a slice of pepperoni.

Agostino slides a pizza into his wood-burning oven, and tells the rest of us that he is a seventh-generation Sicilian, and his pizza recipe has been passed down from his great-grandfather. Before he started making pizzas in the Waikiki Laundromat parking lot, he worked on custom Harleys.

Left: mushroom pizza; right: pizzas by the slice in the display case

Among the non-pineapple pizzas available at Agostino's: margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil), mushrooms with garlic, prateria (ham, salami, mushrooms, artichokes, black olives). All pizzas are available as a slice ($5), which is a quarter of an entire pizza, or as a whole ($20). Tourists from Japan, Australia and Seattle order and patiently wait as Agostino makes their pies. Agostino's is the sort of place that all the tourists seem to know about (it's been in business for three years), but that Waikiki-averse locals have yet to try.

We're missing out. Because while Agostino claims his pizzas to be authentically Sicilian, the experience is almost New York-meets-Asian-street food: navigating Honolulu's busiest pedestrian neighborhood to this makeshift oven trailer for pizza by the slice or made-to-order whole pizzas with thin, floppy crusts, heavy on the cheese, bright with an unadulterated tomato sauce. The toppings aren't anything spectacular—the pre-shredded mozzarella comes from Costco—but it's a slice of Waikiki worth returning for.

Agostino's, 2463 Kuhio Ave., in the Waikiki Laundromat parking lot, 469-7053

Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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