Climb aboard the pizza bus for a slice of heaven
There’s nothing half-baked about a couple’s pizza bus, which is taking woodfired goodness to the masses.
Co-owner Jane Martin acknowledges there is a great tradition of services run out of busses – health clinics, dentists’ surgeries and libraries to name but a few.
While Tobilo’s Pizza Bus, which she runs with her husband Tom, might not be at the top end of essential bus-borne services, it definitely had its place, she said.
‘‘It’s a food truck at the end of the day, but the way [food trucks] have taken off in the States lately, they’ve shown food trucks don’t just have to be chips and hot dogs. It’s about providing better food at a better price to people. Plus, everybody loves pizza, so yes, it is essential.’’
The Tobilo’s bus has been rolling around Upper Hutt for a year.
About a fifth of the bus – a 1989 Mitsubishi Fuso, is occupied by a fullsized wood-fired stone pizza oven. The bus also has an onboard kitchen where the dough is prepared and pizzas assembled.
Tom is the driver and works the oven, while Jane prepares the dough and makes the pizzas. Family members and local college students take customers’ orders.
Jane, who used to co-own Italian restaurant Cosa Nostra on Wellington’s Tinakori Rd, said the bus was a way to get back into hospitality after having their son Toby – who Tobilo’s is named after. The couple had always enjoyed making pizza at home and their first idea was to look for an oven that could be towed on a trailer.
Within weeks they found what was to be their new bus, already fitted out on Trade Me.
Tobilo’s has a regularly rotating menu with a few permanent crowd favourites. Jane said she likes experimenting with new flavour combinations, but generally keeps things simple and uncrowded on her pizzas.
‘‘Not all pizzas have to look like a Jackson Pollock!’’
One of the few compromises she makes on her menu is the presence of a Hawaiian pizza. While pineapple on a pizza is not her favourite, punters just keep coming back for it, she says.
Tobilo’s Pizza Bus is celebrating its first birthday on April 28 at Aston Norwood in Kaitoke, Upper Hutt.