Here's the thing about takeout pizza: Unless you live upstairs from the pizzeria, your pie's always going to cool in transit. Fortunately, Steve and Ruth Lott have found a solution to this problem with their mobile shop, Big River Pizza.
The Lotts are making Neapolitan-style pizzas in a serious wood-fired Refrattari Valoriani oven (similar to Turtle Bread and Punch) that travels to events, festivals, catering gigs, and farmers markets, thanks to a custom set of wheels that Steve Lott modeled after ones he researched online.
Let's take a peak at this mighty oven and the Big River pizzas that emerge from it:
Steve Lott insists that his enduring love of pizza came as a result of seeing the delivery guy at his childhood home that very first time, back in 1972. Since then, a whirlwind of pizza focused gigs starting in Chicago finally brought him to the Twin Cities. He and Ruth, his wife, now live in St. Paul, and they travel around the metro, pleasing folks with their various pies.
The pizzas are hand-stretched (not thrown) and made-to-order, with a thin, soft crust and many artisan, organic ingredients. At the Fulton Market one Saturday, the choices were cheese, sausage, pepperoni, St. Pauli Girl (mozzarella, arugula, white onion and sausage), Ruby Rose (goat cheese, roasted red pepper and basil), Proud Mary (mozzarella and basil), Lil Red Rooster (mozzarella, cheddar, bacon, green onion and an egg) and the Market Pizza, which changes daily. The pizzas ranged from $6 for the cheese to $9 for the egg-topped masterpiece. They offer gluten-free crusts (be sure to ask) and frequently use local goods like garlic scapes from Gardens of Eagan and bacon and sausage from Fischer Farms.
The handcrafted modular Italian oven is also a sight to behold, especially when filled with red oak and another wood (a trade secret) that makes for those large arching flames. It takes a while to heat up and the pies tend to cook at around 850 degrees or so, though Steve Lott wisely told us that it's more about how the pizzas are coming out than an exact temperature reading. Ruth works the "front of the tent" and both enjoy being outside at the many venues they hit up.
Big River Pizza will set up regularly this summer at the Fulton and Centennial Lakes farmers markets.They will also be at the Powderhorn Art Festival and Tour de Fat, among the many events and private parties on their calendar. Check them out -- we recommend the Lil Rooster with the egg on top. Break the yolk and dip your slices right in. It's delicious.
Big River Pizza - 651.497.4202