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Co-owners, Kenneth Thornhill and Beatrice Ardila, opened The Red Bear Mobile Cuisine in early December. Thornhill, who has been a chef for almost ten years, makes all the pizza and sauce by hand, which he then cooks next to an open wood fire in a special oven that was ordered from Italy.
“I wanted to add a special touch, something different,” Thornhill said. “You can’t preheat this oven, and each time we open, the first step is building the fire.”
The oven allows the chef to place the pizza directly beside the open fire capable of heating the oven to temperatures of around 500 degrees, which can cook a full pizza in under ten minutes respectively.
The burning wood adds a special flavor to the recipes and has become the staple of the mobile restaurant’s style.
The Red Bear rig is completely mobile and will set up for any special occasion, but so far the most common spot to find it is in the former 24th Street Cafe parking lot on South Collegiate, where they have a lunch shift starting around noon and a dinner shift starting at 5 p.m.
The artisan style pizza features a sauce with tomatoes and ingredients imported from Italy, as well as the dough used. The Red Bear currently offers a New York-style pepperoni, a Margherita pizza and a ‘special’ pizza that changes each week.
Pizza is not the only thing that The Red Bear offers though, they also make special cheesecakes that are cooked with the open fire method, too.
Thornhill has some big ideas for the Red Bear brand and it doesn’t stop with the current truck and trailer set up.
“Once we get this rolling for a while, I’d like to have the same set up on a boat and serve people out on the water at lakes,” Thornhill said. “I think we’d be the first mobile pizza rig to do so.”
What started as just the hull of a box trailer — which Kenneth remodeled and turned into a modern and unique kitchen — is now a full scale mobile restaurant.
Red Bear accepts cash or credit/debit cards, and you can buy the full pizza or just by the slice. They also offer drinks, such as water and sodas.
Keep an eye out for the rig parked at 220 S. Collegiate St. in the former 24th St. Cafe parking lot or at various other places in town at lunch and dinner time.
For more information, visit The Red Bear Facebook page by clicking here. ‘Like’ the page to receive updates and to find out where they will be parked each day.
By Josh Allen, eParisExtra