Farmhouse Brings to Kailua Pizza Cred With Heart
Inside Grace in Growlers, there’s way more to these pies than meets the eye.
Yes, Kailua has California Pizza Kitchen and Round Table Pizza as well as a Domino’s, if you fancy delivery. There are even vegan pizza nights at Mother Bake Shop and pricey wood-fired pop-ups at the weekly farmers markets and local tap house. But compared to Honolulu, it’s a desert for readily accessible, quality pizza—in my opinion. So when it comes to tasty, well-executed pies you can get at least three days a week at a price that could make them habit-forming, Farmhouse Pizza at Grace in Growlers on Hekili Street is exactly the dough-asis I’ve been yearning for.
The low-key craft beer tasting room, also home to Montreal-style Empty Elle Bagels on certain days, has become a hub for hungry foodies. The ambience is charming and cool: A repurposed wooden door is our table, with patinated metal chairs to match for this hosted tasting. In the heat of a recent Wednesday afternoon we prepare with libations—a Stonewall & Stewbum beer for Frolic assistant editor Thomas Obungen and a pitaya ditty by Paradise Ciders for me. The pizzas are oblong in shape, giving us options of square or triangle slices options, depending on how much golden bubbly crust we want. Note: The formidable crust (the result of obsessive recipe development) is to me precisely what makes these pizzas, pizzas—not flatbreads or flatbread pizzas. The Fennie ($14), with crumbled sausage and fennel, is the newest and the one we’re most excited about. While a little on the oilier side, the flavors of Italian sausage, béchamel and sweet, caramelized fennel are rich and well seasoned, with fresh fennel fronds lending a bright, balanced finish.
The Sweet Heat ($11.50) is a combo of pepperoni and honey. It pairs a rich tomato sauce that takes four days to make with pepperoni, mozzarella, goat cheese, fresh basil and a drizzle of house-infused chipotle honey. The spice lover might ask for some crushed red pepper, since the chipotle is mild.
We also try the 4 Way ($12.50), a cheese pizza finished with beautiful edible flower petals. It’s simple, even dainty: Pops of fresh thyme give dimension to the blend of alfredo sauce, herbed ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan, the resulting creaminess of which juxtaposes nicely with the crusty crust. The Spicy Spinach ($12.50) is like a spinach artichoke jalapeño dip pizza topped with fried spinach and fresh jalapenos on the side. The base is a little dry, but the oil from the crispy fried spinach helps and the result is a texture (pizza) party. The Chimi ($13) has barbecued pork, fried onions and a bright green chimichurri sauce. Visually it’s the most fun, and who doesn’t love fried onions? The flavor of the meat could be more concentrated, but with the flavors going from meaty to fresh and herbaceous, this is a roller coaster of a pie.
Chunky, creamy house-made ranch with fresh dill is for dunking your pizza. Pro tip: Order extra for your leftovers. Farmhouse partner Kanoe Kuwabara tells me that when she imaged ranch, it was like this one. As the middle child of eight growing up on Kaua‘i, cooking was a part of her life from a young age. She came to O‘ahu in 2012 to study social work but instead found herself managing food businesses. That’s how she met Kyle Ranochal from the Philadelphia area (enter the pizza cred), who developed the recipe for their 24-hour-fermented dough. Together they started Pizzaloha, a donation-based pop-up whose proceeds benefited local nonprofits or provided teachers with school supplies. Farmhouse Pizza is part of their dream of having an eatery on a farm where they can cook for community and family. In the meantime, they’re bringing back donation-based pizza nights starting Sept. 26. That one will benefit families in the Waimānalo emergency shelter. Keep an eye on their Instagram for updates.
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Open Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m., Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m., 143 Hekili St., @farmhousepizza.hi