Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Satisfy the munchies with Kaya Pizza

Published:Thursday | August 12, 2021 | 12:10 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Take an up-close look at the pepperoni pizza, with thick slices of meat and extra cheese. It’s guaranteed to leave mouths watering.
Take an up-close look at the pepperoni pizza, with thick slices of meat and extra cheese. It’s guaranteed to leave mouths watering.
In big, bold letters, the Kaya Pizza sign welcomes customers.
In big, bold letters, the Kaya Pizza sign welcomes customers.
The menu board at Kaya Pizza, located on Lady Musgrave Road, is filled with options.
The menu board at Kaya Pizza, located on Lady Musgrave Road, is filled with options.
 Chef Toni Yapp adds the final touches to a juicy jerked chicken sausage calzone.
Chef Toni Yapp adds the final touches to a juicy jerked chicken sausage calzone.
Chef Toni Yapp cuts carefully into a hot pepperoni pie.
Chef Toni Yapp cuts carefully into a hot pepperoni pie.
Not enough time to grab a pizza? Choose a calzone.
Not enough time to grab a pizza? Choose a calzone.
Chef Toni Yapp is all smiles as she hands over a speciality pizza.
Chef Toni Yapp is all smiles as she hands over a speciality pizza.
The Mystic, topped with meat and veggies gives all the feels of an artisan style pizza.
The Mystic, topped with meat and veggies gives all the feels of an artisan style pizza.
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The Kingston location of Kaya Herb House is becoming a fast-casual pizzeria, and giving customers a window into the Italian tradition of artisan pizza. And, while it may cause a sceptic to raise an eyebrow as Kaya is firstly a medical cannabis dispensary, what better food is there than pizza to satisfy the munchies?

The pizzas are made using Jamaican ingredients, under the guidance of Italian Chef Leonardo Sammarco.

According to Chef Toni Yapp, who has been working at the pizza bar for the past year, what makes Kaya’s pies stand out is the freshness.

“It is authentic and made from scratch, adding that Italian touch to it,” Chef Yapp told The Gleaner.

An Italian artisan pizza is identified by its dough — supple and easy to shape — topped with sweet tomatoes or tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese. When any of Kaya’s creations get out of the pizza oven, the crust may be slightly blackened, and you can smell the herbs (don’t get it twisted now) like basil and cilantro rising.

From the vegetarian, which is a little bit different from the vegetable pizza, to the ‘Mystic’, which has all the toppings you can think of, and the Margherita and Meat Lovers, there’s a good selection of speciality pizzas. And if you’re on the go, the chefs and the oven can get everything done in under minutes. They also recently added calzones to the menu, which typically has the same taste as the pizza but is folded into one, easy-to-eat shape.

The real highlight of the pizzeria, or ‘pizza bar’ as it is called, is the space. From the moment a person enters the parking lot of Kaya Herb House in Kingston, it feels more like a hillside lodge than a medical cannabis dispensary with its wooden construction literally built around trees, five minutes from the towering buildings of financial companies and about the same distance away from residential areas.

Assistant Store Manager Jamila Cooper said that the environment has kept them going since December 2019, when it opened officially.

“Kaya is all about a vibe, and the best recommendation I can give to persons is to come here and see for themselves that we are an inclusive environment. Sit by the pizza bar and just indulge in one of our specialities,” Cooper said.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com