Pizza Emergency? Vero Amore Wood-Fired Pizza Fire Truck To The Rescue!
What boy doesn’t want to own a fire truck? Tucson native and restaurateur Joshua Mussman has made that desire a reality. From bidding on fire trucks to having his very own truck “wrapped,” it has been a wild ride.
It all started when catering customers of Vero Amore’s two Southern Arizona restaurants told him, “we love having your pasta, panini and salad at our events and parties, but we want your pizza, too.” Since Vero Amore is certified as an authentic Neapolitan pizza maker, the only pizza that could be offered outside the restaurants was at private homes with wood-fired pizza ovens. “We don’t deliver pizza and even discourage customers from taking it out unless it will be eaten immediately, explains Joshua. Josh’s brother and Vero Amore co-owner, Aric Mussman, agrees, “Pizza coming from an 800+ degree oven is not made to go into a box.”
The answer was to design and build a mobile pizza truck, equipped with a wood-burning oven, so that Vero Amore could bring fresh, hot, authentic Neapolitan pizza to pizza lovers everywhere. After researching mobile units and food trucks, the Mussman brothers decided that a retrofitted fire engine was the perfect vehicle to take their pizza on the road. In the summer of 2009, Joshua started bidding on engines all over the country and eventually nabbed one in January 2010. He and a fire captain friend from Northwest Fire flew out to Fairfax County Virginia in the dead of winter and drove the fire truck to a St. Louis factory. Once in St. Louis, a friend from Dove Mountain retrofitted the truck for catering at his factory. The wood-fired oven was delivered from California, and a commercial refrigerator, freezer and diesel generator were installed requiring upgraded electrical systems.
After months of work, the truck was put on an even larger truck bound for Tucson. Now came the plumbing, including hand washing sinks and fresh water and grey water systems. And a special oven flue, shelves for the wood, refrigerated pizza station and prep tables were installed, as well as a fancy steel façade for the oven! Friends and customers of the restaurants did all the work – it truly was a community effort. The Vero Amore mobile pizza truck has been a hit at numerous private gatherings and public events, including the Tucson Food Truck Roundup, Book Festival and 4th Avenue Street Fair.