If you thought pizza on wheels only went as far as a teenager going door to door for Domino's, think again. Miami's latest pizza phenomenon is a converted bus complete with what the owners say is Florida's first wood-burning oven on wheels. It's a saucy ride, all right.
Inspired co-owners and couple Katy Westman and Chris Noe converted a former handicap transit bus into a pie-making machine -- with a little help from their friends, natch. Their fire-engine red Firewall Food Truck is one of the newest additions to the South Florida scene, and certainly one of the most unique.
But what possessed these two to bring a not-so-portable piece of equipment like a wood-burning-oven to the mobile-food scene? The duo say they saw some amazing examples of food trucks in other cities and wanted to create something unique and homegrown in Miami. The project, from conception to completion, took them a full year. The truck hit the road in mid-July and has been making its way across South Florida since.
And when it comes to the eats, the twosome is all about high quality. They import Italian "00" flour and San Marzano tomatoes for flavor authenticity, and everything is cooked from scratch and made to order. When produce season begins again, they'll source their fruits and veggies from farmers' co-op Teena's Pride and craft their menu partially from its offerings.
Menu options include a classic margherita -- marinara sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan, topped with basil; an "arugula insalata" -- a margherita topped with arugula salad and shaved Parm; the "folded Greek" -- Greek salad folded into a pizza crust; a lobster pizza -- Florida spiny lobster over marinara and fontina topped with scallions and lemon juice; and the "spicy sausage" -- homemade spicy Italian sausage, peppers, onions, mozzarella, and marinara.
The team also concocts homemade Italian sodas in flavors such as strawberry 'n' rosemary and lemon lime 'n' mint. Customers can expect frequent specials too, such as last month's Buffalo chicken pizza, inspired by Westman's hometown.
Launching the business was really a labor of love for the two, who have varied backgrounds. Noe worked for ten years in the nightclub biz and owns a construction company, and Westman held gigs as a prep cook, a delivery driver, and a chicken-wing fryer before earning an accounting degree.
"I was working in the accounting/finance industry and realized that I wanted more control over my future and wanted to wake up every day passionate about the work I was doing," she says.
Westman learned how to cook pizza from her nonna (Italian-born grandmother), but with a different, more rustic methodology -- via sheet pan and standard oven. As far as concocting pizza from scratch and cooking it in a wood-burning oven, Westman and Noe are self-taught. They're good teachers, apparently.
The hardware is all homegrown too. Noe designed the truck's oven and sign. LED lights were soldered onto the truck's exterior for nighttime illumination. For help with the elaborate build, they enlisted the assistance of Noe's construction team.
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In the end, the couple decided to follow their passion, and that's a move we can all admire -- especially when it results in homemade eats for everyone.
Prices for Firewall's pies run $7 to $14. The truck travels between Dade and Broward counties but focuses on events in the downtown/Wynwood area as well as Doral and South Miami. They're holding a "Name That Pizza!" contest via Facebook, and the winner will receive one month of free pizza (one order per day). You can find more information and follow the truck on Facebook and Twitter or call 786-325-8158.