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Pau Hana Patrol: Brick Oven’s happy hour satisfies
One of my favorite places to go as a kid growing up in Kailua was the pizza parlor.
Between nights out with my family to save my mother from having to cook dinner and post-game dinners with the other kids on my baseball team and their families, I have a lot of fond childhood memories connected with the sights and sounds of a pizza joint.
Brick Oven Pizza Kapolei
889 Kamokila Blvd. No. 206
These days, if I was married, had kids and lived in Kapolei, I’d probably keep Brick Oven Pizza at the top of my list when tasked with getting my family fed. But I’m not rocking a wedding ring just yet, and I live in Kaimuki, so making the trip there for happy hour isn’t going to happen often.
That doesn’t mean I won’t recommend this place to my friends who have already started families and live on that side of Oahu, however. Happy hour at Brick Oven Pizza lasts from 2 to 6 p.m. daily, meaning a late lunch or early dinner can be fun for both the little ones and at least one of the grown-ups. It’s also a great pau hana spot for the large number of construction workers in the surrounding area.
The vast majority of the space here is occupied by traditional restaurant seating. More than two dozen tables are spread throughout the room, each covered by a red-and-white checkered tablecloth. Brick Oven Pizza Kapolei’s bar is an eight-seat affair next to the main entrance, with one bartender on duty to service all drink orders.
Luckily, that’s not much of an issue during happy hour. There were open bar stools and less than half of the tables were occupied both times we visited, although the bar tends to fill up the closer it gets to 5 p.m.
Those in the know (or who pay attention to their server) will skip the drink menu and stick with $10 draft pitchers for the best deal; $4 bottles of Shock Top Ale are also available.
With four televisions positioned throughout the room — including one dedicated screen hanging behind the bar — there shouldn’t be a problem keeping track of game action while enjoying a pitcher and pizza. Employees are also happy to change the station for customers who ask nicely; I got to watch the baseball games I wanted despite none of the TVs being tuned to the proper channel when I arrived.
Don’t need to watch TV? There’s an outdoor seating area here, too, if an al fresco pau hana experience is more your thing.
THAT BRINGS US to the pizza. Brick Oven Pizza Kapolei is actually the third in a chain that originated on Kauai in 1977 and opened late last year. Friends from Kauai tend to have nothing but nice things to say about Brick Oven’s pies, raving about the whole-wheat crust brushed with garlic butter.
Pizzas come in three sizes — a 10-inch small, 12-inch medium and 15-inch large — and range in price from about $13 for a small pie to $31.75 for a large pie with three toppings. We ordered a small Ultimeat Pizza ($16.70) and had more than enough to feed two people. Generous amounts of Italian sausage, Portuguese sausage, smoked ham, pepperoni, ground beef, salami and bacon made it a meat eater’s feast, with the wheat crust providing a slightly sweet base for all the toppings.
For those who feel like rolling solo at the bar and don’t want to order pizza, Brick Oven offers a variety of sandwiches and pasta. Traditional spaghetti plates ($8.95) and garlic bread with cheddar or mozzarella cheese ($2.25 per slice, $6.95 per basket) are good choices, but we liked the Super Sandwich ($8.75) with its stacks of ham, salami and pepperoni topped with provolone cheese and white onions. Served up hot from the pizza oven, our sandwich stood no chance and was devoured within minutes as the perfect complement to a cold mug of beer.
And while not part of the happy-hour specials, there are pupu-sized plates of pizza ($7.65 small order, $9.50 medium order) and bacon ($9.25 small order, $11.75 medium order) available, along with Portuguese bean soup ($2.50 cup, $4.50 bowl) and a full dessert menu.
It’s the versatility of Brick Oven Pizza Kapolei that makes it worth keeping in your mental Rolodex of happy-hour destinations. Bring the family — and get your spouse to drive — and you can have a cold one while the kids play with pizza dough and wait for their meals. Head down with friends for a late lunch and you can save a few bucks in the process. Wrapping up another day in Oahu’s second city? You’ve got an hour to enjoy pau hana here, no problem.
Now if only Brick Oven would add a few classic arcade games in a corner — not for the kids, but for their parents who remember playing on something older than a Nintendo or PlayStation. “Cyberball” or “Street Fighter,” anyone?
– Jason Genegabus / email@example.com
“Pau Hana Patrol” sends reporters out in search of rewarding happy-hour haunts. Visits are paid for by the Star-Advertiser.