After spending time in Naples, Justin searched for a comparable pizza experience in California. He then spent 4 years perfecting the dough recipe…and thus, Red Oven Artisanal Pizza was born in September of 2011. Justin’s authentic representation of la vera pizza Napoletana has earned rave reviews on Yelp — just try to find anything else like it in town. He took some time to answer questions for SDFT.
Why did you open a food truck? We wanted to bring this kind of pizza to San Diego and the food truck concept made the most sense. Being able to choose our hours, location, and cater parties with a 900 degree oven crackling on-site is a pretty cool experience.
What did you do before you had the food truck? I went to school for developmental psychology and spent a career in Sales Management. But when the kids were born, I chose to be a stay at home daddy for 3 years. What an awesome time!
In one sentence, how would you describe your food? I can’t say anything that matters in one sentence! We are an experience based business – our pizza is authentic representation of traditional la Vera pizza Napoletana; light, delicate, fragrant, and beautiful sight to be seen!
What makes your truck great/unique?
I have a hand-picked Italian built Mugnaini wood fired oven custom painted with Naples theme on top of a Ferrari red trailer. The oven produces 900 degree or more temperatures that cook a pizza in 60 seconds. The aroma of pizzas in the wood oven command a captive audience. It is our priority to make every pizza the best yet! This is why we are so great when you want a special experience at an event.
What’s the best part about running this business and what is your biggest challenge?
The best part is participating in a memorable experience with our clients. I love it when people try Red Oven and become passionate pizza enthusiasts following us everywhere. The biggest challenge is there’s not enough time in the week. I easily put in 90+ hours weekly to keep the ovens moving. We have a very dedicated group of employees but we’re in need of more. Wink. Wink.
How do you come up with menu items?
Tradition. Our menu items are true to their cultural origination and include authentic ingredients. We have our cheese flown in from Naples every Thursday, our tomatoes hand selected by Neapolitan farmers… We represent special pizzas for each event that capture the farm market fresh ingredients. Pizzas like fig and prosciutto, beets and sausage, sautéed endives and Gorgonzola dolce are what we’re currently making.
What would you say is your most popular item?
BUFALINA pizza. marinated cherry tomatoes in garlic, basil, and olive oil paired with Mozzarella di bufala. But, these crazy little bacon wrapped jalapeño’s are sure picking up momentum!
What’s the best reaction someone has had to your food?
“I’m from Napoli and this is Verace (authentic).”