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Lifestyle

April 30, 2014

‘Eat on the Street’: Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza to open dining event Thursday at Festhalle Market Platz

CULLMAN — For foodies everywhere, and especially those who enjoy a wide variety of food choices, there will be soon be rejoicing in the streets of Cullman.

Food trucks are coming to town. For those who travel, food trucks will be a welcome and familiar sight, but if you are a homebody, you might not realize the popularity of vendors who bring their wares in on wheels.

Food trucks have been popular in larger cities for a while now. It’s a great little start-up business for food vendors who like the versatility of moving from one city and one event, to others as the seasons or reasons change.

One of the food truck vendors who will be coming to Cullman’s Festhalle Market Platz is Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza. Owners Stan Stinson and Tina Ford are excited to bring their specialty pizzas to you. They were here for last year’s first Cluck-N-Brew, and were thrilled at the response from Cullman. “We had a great time in Cullman, the reception was phenomenal,” Stinson exclaimed.

Stinson, who traveled the world, is an admitted “foodie”. “I’ve always been interested in good food,” he said. “I looked at several types of food that could be served from a truck, and I fell in love with pizza because of the diversity it gave me. I found a way to incorporate my love of travel with my love of food.”

Stinson bought a state-of-the-art oven, a monster that can crank out nine 10-inch pizzas at one time, at an astounding 850 degrees!

“It’s basically an oven on a trailer,” Stinson explained. “At 48 inches long, it’s the largest one of its kind on the market.”

He learned the business from the ground up. Since starting the operation 14 months ago, Stinson and Ford have taken their show on the road to such events as Bonnaroo, and the Green Street Farmers Market in Huntsville, as well as several music festivals, some as far away as Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Huntsville and the Green Street Farmers Market are area leaders in hosting specialty food truck vendors. In fact, according to Stinson, on one of their first third-Friday events featuring food trucks, they drew a crowd of approximately 7,500 people.

Their big break came when they served a vegetarian sweet potato pizza to an incognito food critic at the Green Street Farmers Market. The critic loved the roasted sweet potato pizza, topped with red bell peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, spinach and Kalamata olives. After that article hit the streets and the Internet, their business took off like a rocket. “We got lots of calls from festivals and breweries,” he said. “Pizza and beer are always a good combination.”

Their popularity has grown to the point that they now have their own food “groupies” who follow them from one event to another. “They have come to love our artisan pizza and have their own personal favorites,” laughed Stinson.

Some of those favorites include the “Porkalicious” pizza, which includes Italian sausage, pepperoni and bacon, and one dubbed “The Favorite” which consists of Italian sausage, thinly sliced red onion and fresh basil with a white sauce. Stinson admits that it’s his own personal favorite, too.

The food truck will be at the Festhalle Thursday, May 1. “We love using locally grown vegetables on our pizzas,” said Stinson, who enjoys meeting and talking to local vendors about their produce.

According to Cullman City Park and Recreation Administrative Assistant, Kelly Pulliam, the “Eat on the Street” event on May 1, will kick off the summer and extend until August 28. “We invite everyone to come out each Tuesday and Thursday to eat, shop and relax with us,” she said.

“We will have lots of exciting food vendors throughout the season,” said Pulliam. “Dewey’s Cajun Shack and Devil Dawgs, will be here, as well as Cantina On Wheels from Huntsville, and local barbecue pros, Papa Duke’s and Johnny’s Barbecue. We are currently in negotiations with Shindigs from Birmingham for one of the dates.”

Since virtually all pizzas feature vegetables, farmers markets are a great place to showcase local foods. Stinson thinks that’s one of the reasons why  Thursday’s event is perfect for them.

“Festhalle will be a great match with Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza,” said Stinson.

Stinson and Ford also serve up delicious hot wings and nachos with a kick. You’ll want to make sure that you swing by the Festhalle and sample some of these artisan pizzas for yourself.

For more information, visit cullmanrec.org, or call 256-734-9157.

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