When I went to Maui in 2012, I, of course, asked around to get some dining recommendations. My friend Laura, a Maui lover herself, strongly recommended that I go to The Flatbread Company in Paia. I kind of wondered at the time if the pizza could really be that good that it would warrant a visit while in Hawaii. I mean, it’s not like Hawaii is known for its pizza. But, not being one to question the wisdom of a good friend, I took her advice and paid The Flatbread Company a visit.
Laura was right, the pizza was awesome. So, you better believe I put The Flatbread Company on my list of restaurants to get to when I was back in Maui with my family earlier this Spring.
So, on one of the days where the weather was less than ideal, we headed over to Paia to spend more time exploring the shops and galleries, enjoy some pizza at The Flatbread Company and then watching the surf at Ho’okipa Beach.
Paia, itself, was really busy. All of the lots were full of cars and there seemed to be people everywhere. So, it was no surprise that we had to wait about half an hour for a table at The Flatbread Company.
One of the things that makes The Flatbread Company so special is that each location really tries to build a connection with the community in which it is located. They do this by not only buying local produce and ingredients when possible, but also supporting local non-profit organizations through benefit nights.
After taking a few minutes to look over the menu, and having a really hard time narrowing down our choices, we decided to order two 16 inch flatbreads (which we could split half and half and try 2 flavours on each) and then a 12 inch flatbread.
The first flatbread out was the 12 inch, Mopsy’s Kalua Pork. This flatbread is made with Kiawe smoked free-range pork shoulder, homemade organic mango BBQ sauce, organic red onions, Maui pineapple, a blend of Hawaiian goat cheeses, premium whole milk mozzarella, imported Parmesan cheese and Flatbread Company organic herb mix. Truth be told I have never actually had any interest in ordering a Ham and Pineapple pizza before, but this was no ordinary Ham and Pineapple pizza. First of all this pizza was made with delicious Kalua Pork, a traditional Hawaiian pork slow roasted and pulled. That, plus the addition of wonderfully sweet, Maui grown pineapple, and local tangy goat cheese, this pizza was perfection.
The BBQ Brisket was made with homemade savoury BBQ sauce, slow roasted beef brisket, mozzarella, parmesan, herbs and then finished with a creamy coleslaw after baked. I thought the pizza sounded really odd and wasn’t sure how well everything would work together, but I should have known better than to question the wisdom of the good people at the Paia Flatbread Company. This pizza was awesome. The brisket had a great zesty BBQ flavour, which paired perfectly with the creamy cole slaw. Despite it’s somewhat unconventional presentation and flavour, this pizza was awesome.
The Pele Pesto was made with homemade organic Maui basil, macadamia nut and garlic pesto, a blend of Hawaiian goat cheeses, whole milk mozzarella fresh, Haiku organic tomatoes, Kalamata olives and organic herbs. I’ve been on a real pesto and olive kick these days, so this pizza was right up my alley. I especially loved the fact that the pesto was made with macadamia nuts. So delicious.
The Pepperoni and Mushroom was made with homemade nitrate-free pepperoni, mushrooms, wood-fired cauldron tomato sauce, whole milk mozzarella, imported Parmesan cheese and baked on organic bread dough with homemade organic garlic oil and a blend of organic herbs. This pizza was good, but probably the most “ordinary” of all that we tried. I am not a big mushroom fan, so this pizza wasn’t my favourite, but perhaps this pizza would be a good choice for the less adventurous.
The Punctuated Equilibrium (AKA Coevolution) was made with Imported Kalamata olives, fresh Maui organic rosemary, organic red onions, a blend of Hawaiian goat cheeses, fire-roasted sweet red peppers, premium whole milk mozzarella and baked on organic bread dough with homemade organic garlic oil and a own blend of organic herbs. Again, this pizza was good, just not my favourite, as it seemed a little more basic after trying some of the other pizzas. And after reading up on Punctuated Equilibrium and Coevolution, I am not quite sure why the pizza is named that… perhaps some things are better left as a mystery. And correct me if I am wrong, but it doesn’t seem to me like these 2 scientific theories have an “AKA” relationship…. but I digress. 🙂
We had such a great lunch at The Flatbread Company in Paia. You could tell each pizza was prepared with such care and cooked to perfection in the pizza oven. The crust was excellent; thin and crispy, but not so crispy that it became cracker like. We all especially enjoyed the more unique pizza flavours: the Kalua Pork, Pele Pesto and BBQ Brisket. So good! And I just loved that so many of the ingredients were locally sourced. That is almost always a good thing.
I would highly recommend that if you visit Maui, you make the trip into Paia, if not for the great fish at the Paia Fish Market, then for some amazing flatbread. Some of the best I have ever had!
Then, make the drive to Ho’ okipa Beach, just north of Paia. Ho’okipa Beach is “perhaps the most renowned windsurfing site in the world. A combination of large, well-shaped waves breaking across a system of reefs that extend across the bay and consistently strong winds make it ideal for the sport.” It’s a great spot to watch for huge waves and the brave adrenaline seekers who surf them.
On the day we visited Ho’okipa Beach the waves were huge; 20 to 30 feet! The pictures don’t quite do the surf justice, but those waves were just massive. The surf was so rough, in fact, that all of surfers were on the beach, watching the rough water, right along with us. It definitely wasn’t a day to be out on the water! But it was a perfect day for some delicious flatbread!