Ma'alaea is now home to the island's newest wood-fired pizza restaurant, the artisan Porto. The eatery bills itself as "pizza with a purpose" by helping to raise money for the nearby Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) and locally sourcing their food whenever possible. The menu is dominated by a variety of local ingredients, including Maui onions, and locally grown mushrooms and peppers. They also feature house-made, cage-free chicken sausage and Hawaiian sea salt.
Each pizza is flame-fired in a copper oven. "The resulting pizza is crisp on the bottom with just the right amount of chewiness where dough meets sauce, and the slightest hint of flame charring--the ideal for an artisan pizza," said Managing Chef Meagan Kilgore. "We've already had guests from Chicago and New York tell us that Porto's pizza is the best they've ever eaten."
The restaurant was borne from the PWF's catering service, named "Ola" in honor of the Hawaiian word for striving for a life of balance.
"We wanted to use the vacant restaurant space for the catering service, but we were required by the lease to have a retail presence," said Kilgore. "We looked at what was lacking in the area and decided that there was a need for delicious flame-fired pizzas."
The restaurant is open daily from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. More information can be found at www.portomaui.com.