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Maui Brick Oven Gluten-Free Restaurant Opens in Kihei

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   September 20th, 2012 · 13 Disqus Comments ·
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· Featured, Maui Food

Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef, previously working in Portland, Oregon. She offers her blunt assessments in the interests of honesty and improving Maui’s culinary scene.

By Vanessa Wolf

Maui Brick Oven’s gluten-free Mediterranean pizza. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

Celiac or gluten (wheat) intolerant? Make sure you’re seated before you read on.

Maui Brick Oven Pizza has scarcely been open 48 hours, but if you have severe Celiac disease or wheat intolerance, the news that there is now a 100% gluten-free restaurant on Maui may render you compelled to stop reading, drop everything, and go. Now.

Owner Terry Covington knows your pain from first-hand experience. Diagnosed with Celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine affecting those with a genetic predisposition – just a year ago, he suffered extensively before finally convincing his doctor to test him.

“I had a blistering, itchy rash for eight months. I self-diagnosed myself as having Celiac based on a picture I found on the internet, but my doctor wouldn’t listen. The rash is known as Dermatitis herpetiformis, and it was all over my arms, legs, butt and even the back of my neck. It was incredibly itchy and even painful,” Terry explained.

Once the diagnosis was finally confirmed via blood and other tests, Terry then had his two adult sons checked, only to discover they had Celiac as well. Son Chad, also a part owner in the restaurant, is a certified chef educated in Kona and the primary cook. The family’s struggle to find suitable wheat-free dining options was the inspiration behind Maui Brick Oven.

Along with wife/mother, Leanne, the parent-child threesome quickly began planning the 100% gluten-free dining establishment, located at 1215 S. Kihei Road in the Long’s Shopping Center. Unlike many establishments offering gluten free options, the Covington’s restaurant is different because there is no possibility of cross-contamination: no wheat products of any kind are used in the food.

Formerly a Domino’s, the Covingtons did the entire tropical-themed build-out themselves. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

The menu itself features a well-rounded assortment of offerings. Appetizers such as breaded mozzarella, Carpaccio, and a hummus platter run from $7 to $11 dollars. There are a variety of salads in the $8 range and after 5 p.m., there’s a dinner menu containing chicken Parmesan and even fish and chips.

Mostly, there is pizza. Although most restaurants with the option upcharge anywhere from $2 to $7 for a gluten-free crust, Maui Brick Oven does not. “I’m able to keep prices in the range you’d find at any other pizza shop because all we make is gluten-free dough,” Terry explained. “Want one with wheat, however? You won’t find it here.”

Maui Brick Oven offers five signature gourmet pizzas cooked in a brick oven made by Terry himself: 12” personal size runs $15 to $19 and a 16” pie is $19 to $23. There is also an option to create your own pizza from a broad array of toppings.

The Covingtons were kind enough to whip up a Mediterranean Gourmet Pizza ($18/$22) for sampling purposes. Those unaccustomed to gluten-free breads and dough will need to adjust their expectations: the crust doesn’t really rise and is notably chewy.

It’s made from a mix of brown and white rice flours, tapioca, sorghum, and potato flour and leavened with Redbridge beer: a gluten-free lager made from sorghum and produced by Anheuser-Busch. The beer itself has a flavor profile reminiscent of Yeungling. The resulting crust had a nice toothy texture and pleasing herby flavor.

A Hawaiian Style gourmet pizza ($15/$19) cooks in the gas-fired brick oven. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

The toppings were fresh and in ample supply. The house-made dough was slathered with pesto sauce and covered with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese, Kalamata olives, sliced pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, Italian sausage and raw onions.

Whether accompanying someone with Celiac disease or merely curious, even wheat tolerant diners are likely to find something they’ll enjoy on the Maui Brick Oven menu.

Open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays, the restaurant offers a daily weekday lunch special. Your choice of salad and the slice of the day (tomorrow is Mediterranean day, in case you were eyeballing that photo) is available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and costs $9.75.

For the Covingtons, Maui Brick Oven is an avocation as much as an entrepreneurial venture. Those with Celiac disease or even just wanting to learn more about gluten intolerance are urged by owner Terry to “stop in; even if it’s just to ask questions.”

We welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you hear of any new restaurants opening, reopening, or closing; total menu overhauls; or simply know of a hidden treasure you want to share. Have a restaurant you want reviewed (or re-reviewed)? Drop us a line.

Dying to know how a certain dish is made so you can recreate it at home? Send in a request, and we will try to pry the secret out of the chef…and even take a run at cooking it up ourselves. Mahalo. -vanessa@mauinow.com

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  • Jt Clough

    I am not Celiac but eat gluten free for the most part. Maui Brick Oven pizza rocked. The crust may be thin but has a genuine pizza taste, not the cardboard type taste of some gluten free foods. The decor is way Maui with the feel of a real family owned atmosphere.

  • Maui_Mike

    This must be trendy, this is the second gluten free pizza place to open recently, I will stick to the traditional style pie, I find these products to be lacking something……it is sort of like pizza, but not so much….
    Maybe an imitation ice cream store next door for the lactose intolerant would be a good move…..

  • eoe

    I’m sorry, but for some reason I find this really ridiculous. I understand that some people have legitimate issues with gluten but why in the world would you base your entire business model on catering to a tiny, fractional subset of the population, especially when your product, by definition, doesn’t taste as good as the normal version? Let’s see, should I eat at outrigger pizza, fabianis, shaka pizza, pizza madness, tiki lounge or roundtable pizza, all of whom have great pizzas? Or should I eat at the place with the crust with the “nice toothy texture” (translation: terrible) ?

  • CELIACSUE

    I HAVE BOTH CELIAC DISEASE AND DERMATITIS HERPETIFORMIS (“CELIAC DISEASE OF THE SKIN”). I AM ALSO EXTREMELY SENSITIVE TO THE TINIEST AMOUNT OF GLUTEN. I CAN’T EAT OUT BECAUSE OF CROSS CONTAMINATION ISSUES WITH MOST RESTAURANTS. ONE EXPOSURE MEANS SEVERE SYMPTOMS FOR A YEAR. “GLUTEN FREE” PRODUCTS NOT MADE IN A DEDICATED FACTORY HAVE ENOUGH CROSS CONTAMINATION FOR ME TO BE EFFECTED. WITH GREATER THAN 3 MILLION PEOPLE WITH CELIAC DISEASE, I HAVE NO DOUBT THE RESTAURANT WILL THRIVE WITH SUPPORT FROM PEOPLE LIKE ME, OUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND ALL THOSE WHO KNOW A GLUTEN FREE DIET IS A MUCH HEALTHIER DIET. I SUGGEST ANYONE WHO HAS A PROBLEM WITH THE FACT THAT THE GLUTEN FREE DIET IS THE ONLY TREATMENT FOR GLUTEN-RELATED DISEASES AND DISLIKES THE TASTE OF GLUTEN FREE FOODS, EAT WHERE THEY WANT, AND STOP CRITICIZING SOMETHING THEY OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT. BEST OF LUCK TO MAUI BRICK OVEN RESTAURANT….AND THANK YOU !!!

    • Dakine

      Wow, sucks to be you. Next you need to learn what a caps lock key is and turn it off.

  • Jay

    How much are these guys paying for this “advertisement”? Gimme a break, what a waste of time. According to celiaccenter(dot)org, gluten afflictions affect 6 percent of the population. And how many of them have no idea that they have it yet? This place serves pizza that it admits doesn’t taste as good as regular pizza joints, has a customer base a fraction of the others, charges the same (or more). My prediction? Gone in 6 months.

  • brokenbutcher

    There are most likely some out there that are trying to get off of gluten. So This is not going to just cater to a tiny sector, It will cater to a growing sector… Big difference.

  • NicoleNTP

    Gluten issues, as well as all allergies, stem from unhealthy digestion. The key is to change how you eat, change your lifestyle. I highly recommend the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride as well as the book “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. The reason people today have so many digestive issues and diseases is because the “food” we eat today is over processed, non-nutritious junk. Change your diet, change your life, be healthy. It is pretty simple when you think about it.

  • Emery

    Virginia – thank you so much for this article. I would have been going there tonight for pizza and would never have thought to ask about potato flour in the dough. Being sensitive to nightshades, I’m very grateful for this information.

    • Maui_Mike

      Who is Virginia????
      Vanessa wrote it…..you got the first and last letter right!

  • cris

    We ate at Maui Brick Oven for lunch today and had a wonderful meal!! The pizza dough was nice and crisp and the toppings delicious. The fresh, tasty salad even had gluten free croutons! Can’t wait to try their Fish and Chips. I’m allergic to wheat and it’s such a treat to know there is a place in Kihei where I won’t worry about cross contamination.

  • Melar54

    So disappointed! I was expecting this huge, doughy, delectable pizza and what I got was an overpriced, paper thin, tastless, skimpy topping pizza! I’d rather eat at pizza hut and now boy do I miss dominos! I’d be surpised if this place survives longer than a few months! Sorry but it’s the truth!!!

  • kayla

    i kayla thrasher loves there food and i am not celiac and i am 10 years old


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