Great New Concept — Any Way You Slice It

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - August 18, 2010
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Pizza in the Raw’s Bill Bruhl and son Zach

Bill Bruhl understands how important it is to put good food on the table. For the past 20 years he’s spent his time as the executive chef at some fairly busy restaurants. Most recently he was chef and co-owner at Bluwater Grill in Hawaii Kai. Five months ago Bruhl branched out and opened Pizza in the Raw.

“We’re not really a restaurant,” he says, “but we are making the freshest pizza in Hawaii.”

Pizza in the Raw, Bruhl’s take-and-bake pizza place, certainly has a lot to recommend it.

The choice of toppings far exceeds anything you’ll find on an average pizza menu, and the concept of semi-homemade food is one that’s sure to appeal to anyone who’s ever spent just a little too much time at the office and only started thinking of dinner on the way home.

“So many people have kids in school, soccer practice, ballet, homework and all that daily stuff to deal with,” says Bruhl. “It makes it hard to put a wholesome meal on the table every night.

“I have five teenagers, so I know what it’s like to want to make a good meal while juggling those schedules.”

At Pizza in the Raw you’ll find “real cheese and no imitation anything” on the menu. Choose between organic whole wheat dough and a traditional hand-tossed flour-and-olive oil dough for your pizza base, and then go nuts with toppings.

“We have thousands of combinations if you want to get into the math,” says Bruhl of the toppings that include Italian sausage, spicy pepperoni, grilled chicken, apple-smoked bacon, shrimp, banana peppers, roasted eggplant, red jalapenos and more.

I’ve a tough pizza-eating audience at home: a guy from New York and two little boys who already prefer spicy sauces over bland and anchovies over cheese. So, I took home a “Raw” pizza of half anchovy, half pepperoni with a spicy marinara sauce and the house blend of four cheeses. The dough was fairly thin when I picked it up, but it started to rise as I traveled home and got ready for dinner. That might have resulted in a slightly thicker crust, but it also left me with the feeling that I was really serving up freshly made pizza.

The instructions are simple. Pull off the shrink wrap (the only nonbiodegradable part of the waste-free process) and slip the pizza and its parchment paper base into the oven. After just 13 minutes, we had a slightly browned crust with a crisp base - just the way we like it.

The boys devoured their slices. We were all impressed with the sauce and our toppings, and I loved the fact that there was no huge pizza box to try to squeeze into the garbage can.

Fourteen-inch pizzas start at $11 and specialty toppings cost $1 each.

And if you’re loving the idea of a semi-homecooked meal that’s ready in under 15 minutes but you’re already imagining yourself fighting for parking on busy Waialae Avenue, Bruhl’s thought of that, too.

“We have drive-by pizza,” he says with a grin. “Give us a call, order your pizza, pay with your plastic and someone will be waiting on the sidewalk with dinner as you drive by to pick it up. “

Happy eating!

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