2463 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
I would guess that most pizza establishments in Waikiki (and perhaps throughout Hawaii) are on the lower end of the quality spectrum. Finding Agostino's Pizza was totally unexpected, and confusing in a way. How did a legitimate Italian pizza business end up here?
Chef Agostino Trentacoste describes his pies as authentic Sicilian pizzas, although they are not thick, nor square, or even cooked in a pan. Since he *is* from Sicily, I suppose you can't argue with use of terminology
. His background is documented in the following article: http://www.waikikivisitor.com/2013/idine/kuhio-eats/
(scroll down about halfway).
From what I can gather on the internet, he worked in Italian restaurants in Seattle going back to at least 2003. In 2005 he apparently relocated to Hawaii (West Oahu) where he created a mobile pizza station that served the Maili/Waianae area. In June of 2012 he moved his operation to Waikiki in a very unassuming part of Kuhio that's not overwhelmed with tourist traffic. It's basically in a parking lot in front of a laundromat, next to an apartment complex.
The ordering system is rudimentary (almost Difara-esque), but it works. When there are only a few customers, his female assistant (possibly his daughter, cousin or niece) simply calls out the orders to him. She doesn't take down names, but when it starts to get busy she will write down each order on a separate post-it (which you can see in some of my pictures).
The pizza itself was thoroughly satisfying. The only drawback was that we always took the pie back to the hotel (a couple blocks away) before eating it, and the combination of the humidity and pizza box made the crust soft (but not soggy). The crust had a good amount of char and the texture reminded me of a high quality pita. The sauce didn't blow me away, but it did blend very well with the cheese which had a slightly dark, smoky flavor.
I think it's safe to assume that Agostino's main motivation is to share his craft, not to make a ton of money. He could easily set up a highly profitable, permanent full-time shop in Hawaii or even another city in the mainland. Keeping the business on a small scale is a fitting reflection of the simple, easygoing lifestyle that many Hawaiian residents enjoy.
If you ever go on vacation in Honolulu, be assured that Agostino's is the place to get your pizza fix!