Providing quality food at high speed in the cramped work space of a food truck is challenging enough without adding a wood-fired oven that can reach nearly 1,000 degrees to that miniscule space. No wonder the owner of the Tru Pizza truck is thankful that the summer of 2014 has not had many high-heat-index days. “It’s my dream job, even though it gets pretty hot in the truck,” says owner Jason Montgomery.
Montgomery may be new to the food truck business, but he’s been involved in pizza for most of his adult life. He got his start 15 years ago, working for his uncle at Pizza Man in Chaska. “Since then, I’ve always wanted a pizza place,” he says. Even his shifts at Pizza Man weren’t enough for him: “I’ve been messing with pizza ever since I started there, just creating different pizzas, messing around with the dough. I’ve been thinking about this pizza thing for so long, I finally had to do it.”
What he refers to as his “personal obsessions” have turned out to be a positive for food truck aficionados and pizza lovers as well. The staff working near the massive heat source are turning out a crust that’s chewy and nicely charred, with a bit of sourdough flavor (and which reheats surprisingly well in the oven). Ingredients are judiciously spread across the dough, and they’re carefully chosen.
The Killer ($10, above) is a deceptively simple pizza with pepperoni, shiitake mushrooms, and burrata cheese, and the chewiness of the mushrooms is balanced beautifully with the crispy parts of the crust and pepperoni. The burrata is incorporated with restraint, so there’s just enough creamy richness to accent the pizza without overwhelming it. It could have used a touch more tomato sauce, but that’s a minor complaint.
The Health pizza ($10) may have an unappealing name, but it’s something Montgomery has been making for himself for years, and its flavor belies its utilitarian title. The ubiquitous kale is paired with its good friend garlic, along with sun-dried tomatoes, a sweet mozzarella and a tangy feta. No tomato sauce, just a light drizzle of olive oil.
The pizzas, ranging in price from $7 to $13, are simple and flavorful, thanks to thoughtful sourcing: “All grass-fed cheese, period,” says Montgomery. “Organic tomatoes, the best quality I can possibly find, close to Minneapolis.” When available, he purchases meats from Northern Waters Smokehaus at the Kingfield Farmers Market and is considering making his own burrata, once he gets the truck processes more streamlined.
He plans to run the food truck as late into the fall as possible. What could be better on a cool autumn day than top-notch pizza served straight from a blisteringly hot oven?
The Tru Pizza truck often parks on Marquette or 2nd in downtown Minneapolis. Its current location may be found on Facebook.