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Truckin’


A family business kicks its crispy, cheesy pride to the curbs of Oklahoma City with its wood-fired pizza truck.

Greg Elwell November 12th, 2013

It all started on a Saturday night.

Lorne and Lori Hall wanted to create a family tradition for their daughters, Elise and Molly. So on Saturday nights, Lorne made pizza and everybody would gather around the TV with a couple of slices of basil, pepperoni and sausage pie.

Mark Hancock

It could have ended there — but Lorne was pretty good at making pizza, and when friends and family came over, they’d all ask when he was going to open his own restaurant.

“No thanks,” the Halls said. But in 2012, Lorne was in Baton Rouge when he saw a wood-fired pizza oven in a truck.

Not long after, Molly was trying to find a summer job. Suddenly, having their own restaurant — one on wheels — didn’t seem so farfetched.

Simply named The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen, the truck started making its rounds this summer (though their schedule rolls a bit slower through fall and winter) and gaining fans. You can find the truck, with its distinctive red-circle logo, cruising the metro most days.

The business often posts its whereabouts on Twitter and Facebook.

“We spent the month of March researching the concept, April and May designing and having the truck built out and officially hit the streets in June,” said Elise Hall.

Luckily, they had years of pizza under their belts. The Saturday Night is always available and is a pretty faithful re-creation of the ones Lorne made for the family for years: sausage, pepperoni and basil with mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and their homemade sauce.

Another staple is The Company, which, you might have guessed, was the pizza they made when more people came over. Piled high with bacon, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, sausage and basil, it’s a meatier, more filling slice.

The Matt, the Hall’s vegetarian slice, is named for Matt, the girls’ cousin. “Matt became a vegetarian a few years ago,” Elise said.

“In an effort to make a great pizza for him to enjoy, we added pesto, caramelized onions, peppers and artichoke hearts to our traditional sauce.”

Other pizzas rotate through the line-up, with toppings like honeyed prosciutto, pear, balsamic reduction and rosemary potatoes. Much of the credit goes to Lori Hall, who finds new inspiration as a student at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center School of Culinary Arts.

Mark Hancock

The crew also serves up desserts and salads, including a caprese-inspired dish named The Katy for a family friend.

There’s also a gluten-free crust option, The King’s Way, which was created so their gluten-free neighbors could enjoy a few slices.

Unlike some by-the-slice operations that cook one piece at a time, The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen cooks whole pizzas made fresh on the truck. That means no partially baked goods frozen in advance.

“For big events, we can have as many as five people working on the truck, which allows us to make as many as 25 pies per hour,” Elise said.

Staffing the truck was easier in the summer, when the family had a more open schedule, but with Molly in school at the University of Oklahoma and Elise serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, their appearances will slow down.

Elise is a Republican representative for District 100, which means the days she is in the family truck, she’s literally serving Bethany, Oklahoma City and Warr Acres. (Yep, we went there.)

“During the summer, our schedules allow us to devote all of our time to the truck, so we try to do 5 or 6 events a week,” Elise said.

“During the fall and spring, our schedules are a bit more limited, so we try to do 3 or 4 events a week.”

Their biggest challenge, it seems, was switching from their home oven to the wood-fired truck.

“Baking a pizza in a wood-fired oven is different than it is at home — we have had to adjust to the oven,” she said. “The wood-fired oven has spoiled us.”

And for those lucky enough to snag a couple of slices when their truck comes around, they get to be spoiled, too.

 
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