The Story

About Us

Pizzaiolo (Chef) Tom Iannucci has a passion for pizza, for life and the many different people that visit, or call Kauai their home. This can be clearly seen in his NY & Neapolitan Pizza creations and his constant milling about talking with his customers. We believe Pizza brings people and families together.

Pietro’s Pizza is currently the first and only certified pizzeria in the state of Hawaii by the prestigious AVPN (Association of Verace Pizza Napoletana) out of Naples, Italy. Pietro’s Pizza Kauai strives to be the premier pizza destination on Kauai.

Many of our ingredients are imported from Italy itself or sourced locally on Kauai and in Hawaii. We have a fine selection of wines and craft beer, as well as Italian digestives like Limoncello, Galliano & Grapa. We also have our signature homemade Sangria and soon to be introduced Italian cocktails like Negroni’s and Campari Spritzers.

We operate a casual NY walk up window with a covered outdoor dining area, as well as an indoor Neapolitan Pizza wood fired pizza restaurant. Inside features a handmade brick oven from Italy that cooks pizza at 900 degrees in 90 seconds.

At Pietro’s we have a passion for pizza, people and the paradise we call Kauai. We hope you will stop by this family owned and operated business and give us a try!

The Backstory

In 1986 Tom & D’Lissa Iannucci met in Tokyo, Japan. He was an Embassy Marine from Long Island, New York and she was a model and a TV hostess from the island of Kauai. In 1987 they were engaged and Tom was sent to his second posting at our US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

In the middle of a war and on a rare day when the phones worked, Tom was asked by D’Lissa where he wanted to live when he was finished with his tour in the Marines: New York or Hawaii? It was easy for Tom who just wanted to go somewhere peaceful and Kauai was exactly the place he needed. After only a month on Kauai, which turned out to be a little too small for Tom, they quickly moved to the more urban island of Oahu and settled in Honolulu.

After five years in the Marine Corps and travel all around the world, Tom longed for the NY Pizza he grew up on and had been without during that time. It was a constant search where ever he went. More often than not on those travels, traditional New York pizza was nowhere to be found and Hawaii was no exception. He longed for what he had grown up on in Long Island and realized that if he wanted that pizza he craved for, he would have to learn to make it himself. Thus the quest began to make NY pizza in paradise!

In a very small kitchen in their Honolulu apartment in 1989 the trial and error began and he hasn’t stopped since. Through much research, study, picking peoples brains, schooling in NYC and Las Vegas, Tom honed his craft simply to satisfy his own desires.

Moving back to Kauai to help out after Hurricane Iniki and to help start a church, the pizza process was in full swing. He lined his home oven with Mexican unglazed terrazzo tile to get a bigger cooking surface, a better bake and a crispier crust. As the children grew, more and more pizza parties took place at their home. He even got a used commercial pizza oven from a local resort and began to make larger NY slice pies. Needless to say, with the advent of social media and the “coconut wireless” his house was becoming the place to be and many requests came in to be part of one their regular pizza parties held in their home.

All along he kept striving to learn more and become better. Even when they traveled on family vacations or trips there had to be time for visits to the local pizzeria’s so he could see what they were doing, how they were doing it and what they were using. In cities like: NYC, Boston, New Haven, San Francisco, Boise, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Orlando, Dallas, Philadelphia, Baltimore in the US and outside in places like Tokyo, Osaka, Lisbon, Seville, Granada, Paris, Heidelburg, Lucerne, Venice, Como, Milan, Cinque Terra, Florence, Assisi, Rome, Benevento, Caiazzo, Capri and Naples, pizza was the mandatory side trip. All the while he was taking pictures, tasting, talking and noting the good, the bad and the ugly of pizza.

Later while traveling in Italy, he discovered a newfound love: Traditional wood fired Neapolitan pizza. He was simply amazed at the freshness and simplicity of these pizza’s that came from the region of his Italian family: Naples, Italy. Coming home, he and his friend Steve built a wood fired brick oven in his driveway and he started making wood fired Neapolitan style pizzas. This was to the delight of his friends and neighbors who were now the regular recipients of this newfound love.

Many years passed and many requests for him to open a pizzeria came in. The reality was however, there was no real interest or time for a pizzeria, he simply enjoyed looking, learning and honing his skills for his own benefit. At 50 he began to attend the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas each year, sitting in classes and studying the techniques of the some of the top industry personalities, chef’s, dough experts and pizzeria owners, his passion and skills grew even more.

On a trip back home to NY, he connected with the well-known Mark Bello of Pizza a Casa in NYC and not only trained with Mark, but became friends with him and walked away with a greater understanding of NY pizza and the endless possibilities of pizza making itself.

During all of this time, Tom and D’Lissa entered into full time ministry and founded Breath of Life Christian Ministries a non-denominational Christian church under the Calvary Chapel Association. Waking up one day with all three of their children in college, they felt they needed some supplementary income to help this process along. Pizza was the natural path to follow and there was still no adequate pizzeria on Kauai, thus the process began.

Feeling confident on NY pizza making, Tom wanted to also include traditional Neapolitan Wood Fired Pizza in the venture. In drafting a business plan and partnering with friend Dave Erickson owner/founder of monies were allotted to travel to the birthplace of pizza, Naples, Italy and study the craft from one of the masters.

After inquiring with one of his Italian friends, Antonio Autore a chocolatier and pizza enthusiasts as well, he pointed Tom to the obvious choice of Enzo Coccia of La Notizia Pizzeria in Naples. Enzo’s La Notizia was the first pizzeria ever listed in the prestigious Michelin Restaurant Guide and he received their highest rating: three-stars.

Living in the Fuorigrotta district of Naples, Tom trained under head instructor Davide Bruno and Maestro Enzo Coccia himself and became a certified Neapolitan Pizza Chef. He was not only trained in traditional pizza making, but also the history and science of Neapolitan Pizza.

His time in Naples then and in subsequent visits, has given him a greater depth and feel for all things pizza. With a delay in the opening of the pizzeria and a decision to become more connected in the United States with the Neapolitan Pizza makers, contact was made with the American office of the Association of Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). Reaching out to the President & Maestro Pizzaiolo, Pepe Meile, Pietro’s began the quest of the training its pizza makers and the certification process of an approved Neapolitan Pizza operation.

He and his staff trained with one of the head instructors and long time pizzaiolo, Mario Vollera who came to Kauai and continued follow up from Los Angeles. Later Pepe Meile himself also came to guide, inspect and train. The fruit of the labor was Pietro’s Pizza Kauai becoming the first and only certified AVPN pizzeria in the State of Hawaii.

But it doesn’t end there. Tom is always looking to grow, learn and hone his skills in life and in pizza. Recently in Caiazzio with Franco Pepe of Pepe in Grani or with Roberto Caporuscio at Keste in NYC or kicking around ideas and stories with friend and fellow pizza enthusiast Albert Grande of Pizza Therapy in Hawaii, he is always on the lookout to learn and grow.

“Pietro’s” so named after Tom’s Grandfather, Father and older Brother, is the result of the many years of labor and a passion for all things pizza. Pietro’s Pizza is a family run pizzeria that includes their children, Thomas, Dondi & Emily along with their close friends and partners Dave & Sue Erickson. With a dedicated and friendly staff they hope you truly experience a slice of NY and Naples in this tropical paradise. Peace & Aloha!