Starting a roving pizza concept, Andrew Dana recently found, takes a village.
“We did a ton of taste testing before launching,” Dana says, “which means we stopped people walking through the alleyway where we were cooking and asked them to try a bite. I’m getting everyone involved.”
The response was overwhelmingly positive, and after months of slight recipe tweaking Dana and his business partner, Chris Brady, debuted Timber Pizza Co. (timberpizza.com) at the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace at the end of May.
The duo’s wood-burning pizza oven-on-wheels (one of only two in the area) can usually be found hitched to Dana’s 1967 Chevy pickup truck and can cook a pizza in 90 seconds using oak and applewood. “The oak burns clean, and we like the apple just for the scent,” Dana says. “We want people from across the market to smell what’s cooking and run over.”
Dana, who has a background in business and sales, considers himself a pizza connoisseur after living in Brooklyn while attending business school and trying just about every pie available. (He says he dropped 10 pounds immediately after moving to D.C. because of a dearth of good options.)
He describes Timber’s pizza as somewhere between a classic Neapolitan pie and the larger American version meant for sharing.
“We use half 00 flour [finely ground flour common in Italian baking] and half regular flour. It makes the crust crispier,” Dana says. As for the toppings, Timber regularly has four or five varieties ($9-$13) including the Most Important Meal of the Day pie made with cheddar cheese, breakfast potatoes, capocollo, a drizzle of honey and a runny egg.
Local sourcing is a big tenet of the duo’s vision, and many of their toppings come from producers nearby, including pepperoni from Stachowski’s Market and Deli in Georgetown and eggs from local farms. Even more awesome: Dana and Brady will let you source toppings that they don’t have from other vendors at the farmers market. “We’ve had people ask to put beets, fresh corn and avocado on their pizza,” Dana says. “There’s nothing like making pizza on-the-spot for people at a farmers market.”