Firing Up A Passion For Pizza | Hawaii Jobs

Firing Up A Passion For Pizza

Chef Raul Bernal places a freshly made Pepperoni pizza in the hand-built wood oven from Naples.

By Maria Kanai

There’s one common factor among all the employees at Brick Fire Tavern: a shared love of pizza. And it’s a passion that unites them with their patrons as well, as the Chinatown restaurant, known for authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, has quickly garnered a faithful customer following since opening in October 2016.

When it comes to the team of pizza-gurus who bring the restaurant’s pies to life, “A passion for pizza is an ingredient for any potential candidate who wants to work at our restaurant,” explained co-owner Matthew Resich, who added that “we have a fun-loving environment.”

Being in a hip neighborhood like Chinatown also requires staff who are eager to keep up with the fast-paced downtown crowd. “We have the philosophy that you can teach someone skills, but you can’t teach them how to have a good attitude,” mentioned Resich.

Pepperoni pizza

He and his partner, Inthira Marks, had always wanted to open a restaurant, but before founding Brick Fire Tavern, they decided to master the art of pizza making by spending two months in Naples, Italy to train under former-Michelin chef Enzo Coccia and his dough maker, Davide Bruno. “We got to spend great one-on-one time with Coccia, learning how to make pizzas the right way,” shared Resich.

A little over a year into their operation, Marks’ and Resich’s hard work paid off, when Brick Fire Tavern received the “Vera Pizza Napoletana” designation from the Associa-zone Vera Pizza Napoletana (The True Neapolitan Pizza Association) this past December.

The association awards this special designation to select pizzerias that meet a long list of criteria to ensure that their pizza is made in the authentic Neapolitan way. All cured meats, aged cheeses, oils and balsamic glazes are imported from Italy, and the kitchen staff take the effort and time to make fresh mozzarella daily in-house, starting with cheese curds from Wisconsin.

Cook Wintysam Baulis and chef Raul Bernal prepare dough for the evening crowd.

Popular dishes on the menu include the Mamma Mia pizza, with Italian San Marzano tomatoes, soppressata salami, pancetta, Italian sausage, red onion, a hot pepper medley and mozzarella. Another fun pizza inspired by the popular food trucks on the North Shore is Da Shrimp Truck pie with a creamy besciamella white-sauce base, shrimp, roasted garlic, mozzarella, flat leaf parsley and olive oil.

True to Neapolitan style, the rustic, handmade dough is soft, with the right amount of chew. The lightly charred pizzas are cooked up in a 900-degree, custom-made wood-fired oven that also came straight from Italy. The restaurant offers traditional Italian pizzas like the Margherita, made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, basil and olive oil, as well as appetizers, a full bar and sweet dishes like Nutella Calzone and Pistachio Cheesecake. Additionally, the eatery sources local ingredients whenever possible.

Resich added that Brick Fire Tavern always is open to hiring, especially if the right fit comes along. It’s possible for interested employees to call at any time, and walk-ins are also acceptable. “We take our hiring very seriously and want to hire the right people for our culture,” said Resich.

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THE 411

COMPANY: Brick Fire Tavern

LOCATION: 16 N. Hotel St., Chinatown

PHONE: 369-2444


OWNERS: Matthew Resich and Inthira Marks


BENEFITS: Flex hours, company gatherings, employee discounts, medical insurance

NOTEWORTHY: Brick Fire Tavern has an oven designed and built by third-generation oven-builder Stefano Ferraro. The oven was commissioned in Naples, Italy and handmade specially for the restaurant — it can be fired up to 900-degrees Fahrenheit, making it possible for the pizzas to be cooked in only 90 seconds.