Innovation and style is the hallmark of Pounders Restaurant, situated in the Hukilau Marketplace at the entrance to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Two years old and counting, Pounders hosts the same ‘daring’ can-do attitude as the waves you find at the beach it’s named after.
Towards the middle of the restaurant you will find a counter top with stools strategically placed to face into the kitchen. From that vantage point, it’s rather hard to miss Pounder’s kiawe-wood-burning, Neopolitan-style brick oven used to cook their delicious pizzas. Not your fast food delivery style pizzas, mind you. These pizzas are a work of art!
The recipe, as well as the beautiful copper tiled oven, comes through a family business from Naples, Italy who specializes in constructing these types of ovens for the past 150 years. They even brought over a consultant to train the staff on making a true Neopolitan pizza, a tradition dating to the ancient Greeks. The beautiful bell shape covered in copper disks reminded the staff at Pounders of a dress that could be worn by the popular singer, Tina Turner, and thus a nickname was born. “Tina”, as they fondly call her, is definitely a show stopper!
The center of the oven is 720 degrees, but the top of the oven is over 1,000 degrees, so timing and placement are imperative.
One could actually say that it takes longer to prepare our Pounder’s signature pizzas then it takes to cook one. When cooked just right, it takes just under three minutes to bake. The oven fits as many as six pizzas. All of the fiery heat in the oven is at the 9 o’clock position. The pizza sits in there for about 40-50 seconds, then it is rotated one third — this is called spinning — for another 40-50 seconds, and so forth.
If you are ever here on the North Shore, come on in and see what Tina can do for YOUR pizza craving!
Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 40 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.