Even deep dish pizza fans ooh and ahh over the dough, made with local spring water, organic flour (specially milled for Flatbread), cake yeast and kosher salt. Its dense, chewy, crispy texture and rich flavor has us kneeling, hands folded at the heart.
We especially like the homemade sausage pizza with caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and garlic oil (we sometimes add the fresh-made tomato sauce). The Pele Pesto dizzies: a lush paste of basil, macadamia nuts and garlic, with a salty top note of hearty Kalamata olives.
The salads are large enough to share, but take simplicity a bit too far. A (sometimes wet) head of lettuce topped with shaved carrots, chunks of celery, and a smattering of dark green seaweed and too-tart pineapple vinaigrette represents our one quarrel with Flatbread. Where’s the love?
Flatbread Pizza Company is an altar dedicated to fresh food.
The bar is full-service and competent (generous) in the pouring. The open dining room offers huge booths, small tables and couches, but the giant brick oven in the middle of the restaurant can turn it into a sauna. If that sounds suffocating rather than cozy, we suggest sitting outside on the lanai.
Every night is noisy, but Tuesdays are especially packed as people turn out to support whichever local nonprofit gets 10 percent of that evening’s sales.
Service can range from excellent and attentive to distracted and intentionally oblivious—we suspect that training is left to previous employers.
Consistency is found in the delivery of the flatbread, which is usually made by the pizza maker (not the server). Consecrated to the brick oven, the acolyte appears humble and heartfelt as he or she presents the dish and describes its topography. These dough shamans—with their rippling windsurfer physiques, tattooed arms and wild hair—are ably serving the Fire, the Bread, and the Divine in You.
Flatbread, located at 89 Hāna Highway in Pā‘ia, is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 579-8989 and visit www.flatbreadcompany.com.