Food that rolls and rides



By Sarah Brookbank

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Rolling Oven is one of Lexington’s many movable restaurants, treating the city to the smell of pizza.

Owner Nick Ring designed the truck after being inspired by one he saw on a trip to San Francisco.

The truck, a 20-foot shipping container in a past life, now houses a pizza oven, prep station and enough room for seven people. You can see them at work through the ¾ inch thick glass, which makes up one side of the truck.

Jeff Blythe has worked for Rolling Oven since 2013 and said while the oven runs hot, it doesn’t change the temperature inside the truck. However, he said it is like parking your car outside on a hot day.

“It’s like a microwave,” Blythe said.

The glass lets people see the work being done on the truck, which is a big draw for customers. The large oven sits in one corner and runs around 750 – 900 degrees with a pizza cooking in six to seven minutes.

Blythe said most days the line is non-stop, whether they are parked downtown for lunch or at a bar for dinner.

“The truck obviously gets you up to it. That’s the idea,” Ring said.

Once people come up to the truck, Ring said the menu does the rest of the work. Rolling Oven serves wood-fired pizza and sandwiches and Ring, a lover of pizza, created all the recipes.

“Everyone loves the ‘Bianca.’ It’s hard to find a pizza that uses garlic as the main ingredient. And it smells so delicious that you can’t wait to get it in your mouth,” said Blythe. “I can see people smiling as (we) hand them the box.”

When Rolling Oven isn’t at festivals across the country, they’re hanging out at The Break Room, West Sixth Brewing or Country Boy Brewing. They will be participating in the Feeders’ Cup later this month, which is a part of the Breeders’ Cup festival.

“Between April and November I could have two trucks. There isn’t a weekend that goes by that we don’t get calls,” Ring said.

Because of the lack of storage Rolling Oven gets local vegetables almost every day of the week, but it isn’t necessarily a downfall. “The Supreme” is one of their best sellers and Blythe attributes it to their fresh and local ingredients.

“I think one of the perks of being on the truck is once I turn all the lights on and we set up the sound system and get everything blaring, it does look awesome,” Blythe said.

Rolling Oven has rolled across the country to go to different festivals. They have worked at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for two years. Blythe said Bonnaroo is the craziest thing he’s ever done while working for Rolling Oven, and while the lines are long, the customers are nice.

“Some restaurants don’t do what we do in three days, than in half their year,” Blythe said. “You have three-and-a-half days to make anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 in food sales.”