Aloha, Maui Brick Oven: Gluten Free Pizza In Germantown
Gluten-free pizza seekers, rejoice! Maui Brick Oven restaurant in Germantown opened a few months ago and offers gourmet pizza, grain bowls, and a finger foods menu. It’s all entirely gluten-free, but you’d hardly know it. The Hawaiian-themed atmosphere is fun, too.
I visited Maui Brick Oven a few weeks ago for lunch with a friend. It’s in the shopping center just east of Exeter Road in Germantown in the former Wolf Camera location. It’s a fast casual kind of place, so you order at the counter and then seat yourself. There are several tables in the center of the restaurant and a row of tiki-hut booths on one side.
The atmosphere is colorful and clean with palm tree and sea graphics in bright greens and Pacific ocean blues, though it’s not over the top. It’s inspired by the original Maui Brick Oven location, which is in Kihei, Hawaii. The Memphis location is not an exact copy, but more like a cousin with its own recipes and local ownership.
We started off with the coconut shrimp from the finger foods part of the menu, which has things like chicken tenders, fries, cheese sticks, and onion rings ($5 – $11). I immediately thought it would be an easy, very affordable way to feed picky kids, or give gluten-free folks a chance to enjoy the fried foods they normally have to miss.
I was eager to try the pizza…so we ordered three different ones, because this is America and we do ridiculous things like order three pizzas for two humans. The crusts are all gluten-free, the dough is made in-house, and pizzas are cooked to order in the oven behind the counter. It’s a crispy, thin-crust style pizza. I don’t know if it could pass for a “regular” crust, but it comes darn close, has a good texture, was substantial; it wasn’t too chewy or floppy the way some gluten-free pizza crust substitutes are.
The crust is not going to be the star of the show here, though. I found that it’s the toppings that make or break the food at Maui Brick Oven. I’m a person who loves pineapple on their pizza, so first we had to try the Maui Luau with pineapple, Byrd Creek Farm ham, red sauce, mozzarella and bacon.
The combination of the locally-sourced ham and super fresh pineapple on the crispy crust was satisfying, though I felt like it needed something else– maybe a more robust sauce, some feta, or to grill the pineapple to get that tart, smoky sweetness–next time I’d add another topping.
Next, we tried the Paradise Pesto pizza with artichoke hearts, Greek olives, feta, and a pesto sauce. This was extra tasty and I would order it again. I started thinking of what else I’d add to it, maybe some chicken or sun-dried tomatoes. Again, it seems the toppings are a personal preference that makes all the difference.
The Polynesian Pie (pictured at the top of this post) was my favorite, and 100 percent I would not have known it was gluten-free if you’d served it to me out of context. It had a hot-sweet kick due to spicy pepperoni and a Thai-inspired chili sauce, plus bacon, mozzarella, and red onions.
The medium pizzas are $14 and the large pizzas are $18.50. You can also build your own pizza, from a small plain cheese at $11 up to a large 5+ topping pie for $21.50. There are a couple of salads, as well as grain bowls ($11-$12) which are a mix of veggies, toppings and a protein served in a bowl on top of rice or quinoa.
We chose the Kalua Bowl, which had pork shoulder (braised in-house), pickled cabbage and onions, pineapple, crispy potato strips on basmati rice and bbq red sauce. This one didn’t do it for me; the Asian flavors and the BBQ didn’t quite work together and none of the flavors stood out enough for my personal taste.
I do think the grain bowl is a great idea for fairly healthy gluten-free option, though, and the other options sounded more cohesive, i.e., Bi Bim Bowl (Korean with kimchi and fried egg), Pollo Bowl (Tex-Mex with avocado and black beans), and Barefoot Bowl (lots of veggies in a Thai coconut sauce).
For me, the test is: will I go back to Maui Brick Oven because the food is good enough on its own, even though I can eat gluten? The verdict is yes: I’ll go back to build my own pizza, or for the Polynesian Pie and the Paradise Pesto, and I want to try the other grain bowls. The price point is nice and the experience was laid-back and easy.
Maui Brick Oven offers sodas in bottles, tea, coffee, and soda floats, plus about a dozen craft beers, including a few from Ghost River.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays – Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. It’s ADA accessible, very kid-friendly, and there are several vegetarian options and a vegan pizza, The Barefoot Vegan: tomatoes, onions, kale chip, artichoke heart, portobello and olive oil. As I said before, the facility is completely gluten-free except for the beer.
Maui Brick Oven
7850 Poplar Ave. Suite 6