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UWRF music professor creates a pizza truck

April 1, 2015

If you are looking for some amazing brick oven pizza, Thomas Barnett is the man for the job.

Barnett is a professor of music at UW-River Falls and has been since 2001, yet his creativity goes further than just music.

Barnett has traveled all over the world, broadening his horizons in the world of food. Barnett has recently been working on a project that has caught some people’s eyes: a pizza truck.

Recently, Barnett bought a 1946 Chevy two-ton truck from an old friend. With the acquisition of this truck, Barnett began this project by recreating the 1946 Chevy to be not only functional as a vehicle on the roads, but as well as a full-fledged pizza cooking machine.

Barnett has now created a website for the pizza truck called classicpizzatruck.com. The website gives an overview of Barnett’s idea to put a wood-powered brick oven that would be strapped to the back of this classic truck.

Barnett proposes this truck can not only be a way to create delicious pizzas, but to bring people together as well.

“It’s not just pizza, it’s about food, friends and fun,” Barnett said. “It’s not just getting together and eating pizzas, it’s really creating an event that people are going to remember, and that’s just the side bonus, because I just love cooking on this thing.”

Barnett says that the cost to buy the truck, as well as the oven and installation, which he would do himself, would be less than $10,000. He has his truck slated for usage by May at the earliest. Barnett also proposes this could lead to fundraising events for anyone who is interested in this pizza truck.

“They could basically pay me whatever it cost me to be for a couple of hours and any revenue is made, I would give to whatever organization is hosting the event,” Barnett said.

This particular brick oven, which is ordered from Italy, is mounted to the back of the truck and cooks the pizza at about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and takes less than two minutes to bake. Barnett talked about this special kind of pizza making and how original it really is.

“You have to have this oven, because when you get it up to 1,000 degrees, you can’t get the same texture and chew on the dough of the pizza unless this oven is used, so there is a bit of science to it,” Barnett said.

Barnett has spent some time in Italy as well, learning on how they cook pizza. Barnett has cooked on this style of oven for over three years now. Pizza trucks have been made and used for business around the country, but for some reason not in the Midwest.

“You see a lot of these modern box style pizza trucks in the East and West Coast, but not so much here, but I predict within five years, you’re going to see a number of these trucks here.”

Barnett never anticipated any compensation with this idea, but the interest from all over has created an opportunity for Barnett, and has numerous events already planned including a groomsman party, a graduation party and even a birthday party.