About the Trucks
The trucks are real antiques. We have 1946, ‘47, ‘48 and ’49, International Harvesters KB-5’s. They have all been completely restored and repowered. Most now have modern engines and automatic transmissions. The sides of the truck are composed of four large wooden panels—these lift off to become the tables that we serve pizza on. The back panel, also made of wood, has a Formica surface on one side, that becomes our pizza prep table.
The passenger’s side is the business side of the truck. Hidden behind the wood panels is a wood-fired pizza oven, a cappuccino machine, and a sink with hot and cold running water. A cabinet above the cappuccino machine holds our firewood. A cabinet above the sink holds our cooking gear. On the back of the truck is a refrigerator for all of our dough and toppings, while on the driver’s side we have a freezer for gelato, along with our storage and generator. An awning cranks out to cover the work area in front of the oven and we carry a detachable chimney to vent the oven. Also, all the trucks have a sound system that is iPod compatible and we have our own “pizza playlists” featuring a wide range of artists.
The truck is designed to be completely self-sufficient. It uses an electrical generator to power the cappuccino machine and the rest of the electrical system while in remote locations or driving. At the site, the trucks are plugged into a regular household outlet for all purposes except when operating the cappuccino machine (that requires 220v). We carry our own water supply and have a wastewater tank.
How We Came Up With The Idea
The pizza trucks grew out of a normal catering business. The owner had many years of catering experience, but no experience with pizza or old trucks. However, he did have a long-standing interest baking bread and had built a portable, wood fired, brick oven to bake breads in. Being a ‘thrifty Yankee’, he purchased a 1942 half-ton pickup to tow the bread oven to catering events. It was cheap, stylish, and not likely to depreciate with further use. The introduction of pizza came purely from customer demand. People heard about the oven and kept requesting that he make pizza—eventually he gave in and did a few pizza parties.
The parties were an instant success. People really enjoyed watching the pizzas being made in a wood-fired oven, and the meal, while simple, was good, fresh food. Unlike most catering, where planning a menu means trying to take everyone’s different food preferences into account, with pizza you could use a few toppings to create a diverse buffet of pies that could appeal to almost everyone. Here was a format that was flexible and low-maintenance, simple and easy to operate, and most importantly fun for guests and hosts