“We wanted to dedicate our truck to the greatest hero this nation has ever known: John McClane,” chef/owner Michael Pastor tells me. “The documentary about his actions, Die Hard, has been my favorite film since the day it came out—almost exactly 9 months after I was born.”
I tried to explain to Pastor that Die Hard was fictional, to which he responded like so:
Every time his partner, Megan Keefe, myself, or the other cooks got on the truck, he’d yell “Welcome to the party, pal!” It was funny at first, but concerning after the first few times.
Anyway, he sees the Pie Hard pizza truck as a mobile tribute to McClane—it’s American-made, it’s saving people from hunger, and it’s pretty much unstoppable (it is a modified shipping container with a full-sized wood fired pizza oven in it, after all). He says the revelation came about a few years ago when he was re-watching the
film doc and McClane tells the police supervisor, “No fucking shit, lady. Does it sound like I’m ordering a pizza?!”
“When he said that, I thought, whoa, John McClane likes pizza too?”
Pastor spent a year developing his recipes, especially the crust. What ultimately won out was a slow, cold fermentation process using Antimo Caputo flour from Naples, Italy—the result is a bubbly, chewy dough, in the same vein as Pastaria and Pizzeoli here in town.
The menu has classics, like The Queen (a.k.a. a margherita) and The Vladi, a vodka sauce and meatball pie dedicated to Vladi Tarsenko, but it also has a good amount of more inventive pizzas, as well.
The Veggie, for instance, has a celery root puree based, that is topped with cherry tomatoes, preserved lemon, grana padano, and an infused honey. The Al Pastor uses a Mexican mole for its sauce, plus a queso fresco mix, slivers of pickled pineapple, and shavings of pork belly. With their reasonable prices ($9-12), it’s easy to get a couple pies to share—or, in my case, a couple pies to eat on your own.
As my night on the truck came to an end, I found myself getting more and more uncomfortable with Pastor’s obsession with
Bruce Willis John McClane lines. Every few pizzas, he’d blurt out, “I’m gonna fuckin’ cook you, and I’m gonna fuckin’ eat you!”
I opted to hop off the truck with my pizzas and join local legend Mike Emerson for rosé and…uh, 5 pizzas. The last thing I heard Pastor say before I was out of earshot was, “happy trails, Hans!”
Pie Hard pizza food truck gets two thumbs up from this guy.