In a city where you can’t go a block without stumbling into some form of sustenance, it’s easy to overlook the street carts. The familiar sight of a twirling pole full of halal meat stuffed inside an aluminum box is appealing, especially after a long night of drinking, but the set-up isn’t winning any design awards. Luzzo’s chief pizzaiolo Michele Iuliano aims to change that. He’s developed a sexy looking street cart with a working wood fired oven that pumps out personal pizzas in less than a minute.
Iuliano is a third-generation baker who owns four locations of his pizzeria, and it took him two years to develop this first-of-its kind cart; it’s a task he undertook because he wanted to create something fun for pizza lovers — and for himself. His finished product channels the days when Italian food vendors would comb the street in a horse and buggy peddling fresh foods and veggies, and the visual appeal of melted mozzarella and marinara in a trattoria with wheels is easily attracting a crowd.
“There’s nothing like this…in the world,” he says. The cart boasts a faux chimney and a slanted roof, where Iuliano plans to plant cart-powering solar panels.
And none of the design bells and whistles take away from the cart’s ability to turn out enough pies to feed the masses. “There’s a space for everything,” he says. The smaller kitchen is preferable from an efficiency standpoint, he adds, and two employees are able to work side by side comfortably. Running water, a refrigerator, electricity, and even an espresso machine are all a part of the functioning kitchen, neatly hidden away under mock wooden panels.
For now, cart visitors can order either a margherita ($7) or diavola (spicy salume) personal eight-inch pie ($8), and cold refreshments are also available. Iuliano hopes to add additional carts in the future, though for now, he is perfecting his mobile strategy before expanding the concept. The cart is also available for private functions.
“It makes me very excited,” he says. “It’s beautiful when people come and say ‘Wow, I’ve never seen something like this.'”
For a look at the city’s new street cart, check out the photos on the next page.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2014