Maui Food and Dining

Prison Street Pizza: Worth Getting Sprung For?

November 30, 2014, 11:04 AM HST
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By Vanessa Wolf

Once a home, now Prison Street Pizza. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Once a home, now Prison Street Pizza. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

We do not know the owner of Prison Street Pizza, but we imagine him a “calling it like he sees it,” no frills-type dude.

Suffering from an over-abundance of imagination, we even conjured the following totally fake, make-believe interaction for you:

Prison Street Pizza Owner (PSPO): I’m calling it “Prison Street Pizza.”

Helpful Friend (HF): Hmmmmmm…. Are you sure you want to lead with the word ‘Prison’?

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PSPO: Yes. It’s on Prison Street.

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HF: I get that, but people have a lot of associations with the word ‘prison’… None of them good.

PSPO: It’s on Prison Street, and we make pizza.

HF: I see where you’re coming from, but hear me out: what do you think of clever names like Serious Pie, Killer Pizza from Mars or Nine Easy Pizzas?

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PSPO: <<unimpressed stare>

The Cheese Pizza. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The Cheese Pizza. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Anyway, Prison Street Pizza claims to be serving up classic Jersey-style pie… and they are.

The large 16” Cheese Pie’s ($17.75) crust offers more crisp than chew, and the dough itself has a very mild flavor.

To be frank, mostly what you taste crust-wise is the well-charred bottom.

Perhaps it’s because we grew up eating pizza like this, but we like it that way.

That stated, our society has a new shared enemy and its name is gluten.

If you are beginning to feel a little afraid of the mysterious substance yourself, the good news is the end crust of the Prison Street slice is so tough you’ll feel like a dog with a rawhide. After a couple minutes of gnawing on that, gluten doesn’t seem so appealing any more.

We love a good char, but if that's not your bag maybe see if they can dial it back? Photo by Vanessa Wolf

We love a good char, but if that’s not your bag maybe see if they can dial it back? Photo by Vanessa Wolf

We like a nice bottom char as much as the next guy, but next time, we’ll probably ask them to dial back the “doneness” a titch.

Presuming that’s doable, the rest of the pie offers a perfect balance of sauce to cheese and not too much of either.

The sauce itself is savory more than sweet, another element we enjoyed.

Those with more exotic/California Pizza Kitchen-ized tastes will likely be pleased to learn they offer options like alfredo sauce, Buffalo and BBQ chicken-covered varieties as well.

Meanwhile, the Calamari Caesar ($13.95) is an idea we can get behind.

The Calamari Caesar is indulgence disguised as self-restraint. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The Calamari Caesar is indulgence disguised as self-restraint. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Taking everything healthy about a salad and rendering it junk food, sometimes you just want to pretend a deep-fried appetizer is actually a well-balanced meal.

The ceasar dressing has an atypical golden hue and outstanding flavor, leading us to wonder if they’re actually making it from scratch the “real” way – with raw egg yolks.

Kudos if so (although the pregnant or those with compromised immune systems may want to ask).

Regardless, it’s exactly what you would expect (romaine covered in a creamy, rich dressing and smothered deep-fried, crispy-on-the-outside-tender-inside squid tentacles) and every bit as decadent.

The lettuce is still healthy anyway, right? Right??

The same person taking your order makes your food. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The same person taking your order makes your food. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The restaurant itself is a converted house and seats about 20 people. The place was fairly empty on both visits and service was prompt and efficient, with food taking about 15 minutes to come up.

Speaking of which, the Classic Italian Sub ($) arrives on a big, gorgeous, clearly homemade hoagie roll filled with lettuce, tomato, red onion, Italian dressing, provolone cheese, ham and salami.

Although the ingredients list is on the money, we found the bread-to-innards ratio way off.

Dense and ultimately in equal proportion to the fillings, there was just too much roll for our liking. However, we got rid of the bottom bun and it was perfect.

The Classic Italian Sub. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The Classic Italian Sub. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Once that little issue was addressed, we were able to enjoy the nostalgic flavors of the components.

Our Meatball Parm Sub ($7.95) came filled with four gigantic meatballs.

Each about the size of a squash ball, they’re stuffed into the 8″ roll, offering a very filling meal for a great value.

The only issue is that the meatballs were in dire need of seasoning (salt) and the two largest were cool and reddish pink inside.

As we noted in our summary that day: desperately hope these were not made with pork… Something we imagine will find out in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Buy hey, according to medicinenet.com, “less than 0.1%-0.3% patients with trichinosis die from the disease,” so we’re feeling mighty optimistic.

The Meatball Sub works well with the thicker hoagie roll. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The Meatball Sub works well with the thicker hoagie roll. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

(And honestly – despite being a bit spooked – we experienced zero ill-effects and presume the meatball is entirely or at least majority beef. And if not, then we officially have the iron stomach we like to claim we have. Sweet.)

Otherwise, the balls are covered with copious red sauce and mozzarella cheese. Meatball subs such as these often suffer from a notable soggy factor, but the formerly-too-dense-for-our-tastes hoagie roll finds life purpose here.

Minor doneness scare aside, add a little salt and this was one of the best meatball subs we’ve encountered to date.

Fairly new and likely still getting their footing, Prison Street Pizza offers great value and solid flavors.

Signs indicate this is an all-beef meatball. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Signs indicate this is an all-beef meatball. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Start digging that underground tunnel, make plans to drastically change your appearance (those of you with face tattoos need not apply), ditch the day glo orange jumpsuit and make a beeline to Prison Street Pizza.

___

Prison Street Pizza is located at 133 Prison Street in Lahaina.

They are open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

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