LAHAINA - With pizza, it's all about the crust. The sauce and the toppings, too. Ditto for rolls on say, a Philly cheese steak hot-sub sandwich. You've got to have a good, crunchy and soul-satisfying hoagie roll base to pull it off.
At Italian Delight at the ground level of Lahaina Gateway shopping center, all of the above-mentioned components are in play. It's no wonder, as the chef-partner is Tony Carannante. With a name like that, you know it's going to be authentic and buon cibo, "good food."
"We opened Italian Delight in Lahaina Gateway in the middle of July last year," the chef said with his beautiful Italian accent. "I'm originally from Naples in the Campania region of Italy. I came to America in 1984, and in 1995, I bought a pizza place from my father-in-law in Philadelphia."
Chef-partner Tony Carannante shows off hot pizzas at Italian Delight. PHOTO BY CARLA TRACY.
Carannante is partners here with old Philly pal Jody Fosuek.
"One day, she came into my store and said, 'Tony, can we open a pizza place on Maui?' She then flew me to Maui to check it out. I asked around, 'Who has the best pizza?' I learned we could do it. I found the right vendors. I had the right recipes. It took three years with the permit processes and all, and here we are."
Those who venture to Italian Delight will find a warm and inviting dine-in and take-out establishment.
The pizzas are all artfully displayed behind Plexiglass and will make you crave a slice immediately. The exhibition kitchen emits intoxicating aromas, and the dining room itself takes you into the heart of the old country with its colors.
"We wanted the color to be Tuscany Gold. It came out a little darker, a little more rustic, but nice. An acrylic artist did the work. Everybody loves it, especially East Coast people. The cheese-steak people," he said.
Speaking of cheese steaks, Italian Delight uses Amoroso's hearth-baked rolls, family owned and operated for five generations.
"The rolls never see the inside of a pan and are free to form their own individual personalities in the oven. Each one is unique. All slightly different from each other," said Carannante.
Besides the Philly cheese steak with provolone, you may order the supreme Philly with added mushrooms, peppers and sauted onions; the chicken cheese steak and sub sandwiches such as meatball or sausage; chicken or eggplant parmesan; or veggie with sauted broccoli, spinach, onions, black olives and cheese.
"We make our pizzas with thin crusts, New York-style. You order the toppings any which way, half and half on either side, whatever, or buy it by the slice," said Carannante.
Choose a rich, red sauce. Or opt for one of six white pizzas. Italian Delight also features pupus such as mozzarella sticks and garlic knots, salads from antipasto to Caprese, pastas from penne to ziti, cold hoagies and calzones. It's open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Ask about its catering services.
To order, or for more details, call 662-0077.