Charm City has its fair share of pizza purveyors, but none are quite like Well Crafted Pizza—the brand new mobile kitchen that is hitting the streets to serve its signature wood-fired pies out of a modernized 1949 Dodge pickup truck.
Husband and wife team Ryan and Liz Bower, both natives of central Pennsylvania, moved to Baltimore ten years ago after graduating from Bucknell University, and started their own wedding photography business. After falling in love with the local food scene, the Bowers persuaded their college friends, co-owners Tom and Laura Wagner, to move here from New York City to help make their pizza project a reality.
“We all have this passion for bringing people together through food,” Liz says. “So as a group, we had been talking about this for a long time, and in the last three years we really got serious about developing something to celebrate the community.”
Liz says that the process of making the pizzas is truly a group effort. Ryan and Tom—who both have engineering backgrounds—enjoy the science behind forming the dough, while she and Laura like to get creative with different toppings and recipes.
“For us, the catalyst for working with pizza was that it’s such a blank canvas,” she says. “It’s an interesting way to come in at a base level and push people beyond what they typically eat. For me, it’s beets. I don’t like them, but after Laura throws them into a beet pesto pizza, I suddenly love them.”
In keeping with Well Crafted Pizza’s sustainable mantra—which makes use of everything from reclaimed barn wood tables to compostable silverware and pizza boxes—the brand highlights local ingredients such as tomatoes from One Straw Farm, basil from Martin Family Herb Farm, arugula from Calvert’s Gift Farm, and dessert pie toppings from Jinji’s Chocolates and Woot Granola.
Equipped with an 1,000-degree wood-fire oven and four built-in draft taps, the vintage B-Series pickup truck (which the owners found on a farm in Alabama and hired a contractor to spruce up) serves inventive 10-inch pizzas like a margherita topped with chorizo and spinach; banh mi with raw cucumbers, carrots, and Chesapeake mayo; and Chana Masala with curried chickpeas and cauliflower.
The owners celebrated their first public sale at last week’s Light Up Lexington event, and are excited to hit the ground running at a variety of food festivals, brewery and winery pop-ups, and private catering events this summer.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen Baltimore have this energy and spark that we’ve been so intrigued by,” Liz says. “It’s what kept Ryan and I here, and in turn, what brought Laura and Tom here. As we’ve started diving in, we’ve been incredibly excited about how much the people around us challenge us, and how open they are to new ideas.”