4,000-pound pizza oven on wheels gives Jefferson County a taste of Italy

The owner makes every pizza by hand.
In Jefferson County, a pizzeria on wheels is giving residents a taste of Italy.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 9:46 AM EDT
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DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Food trucks are becoming more popular in cities like Knoxville, but if you drive a little further out, you’ll find a truck that’s different than the rest. Morning anchors Harry Sullivan and Casey Wheeless went to check it out for Mornings on the Move.

Patriot Woodfired Pizza was started by Jake Johnson and his wife.

“I’ve been in and out of the restaurant business for almost 20 years now, all different types of restaurants,” Johnson said. “When we moved here, there wasn’t really a lot of pizza in our area; that was good.”

It all began with an idea.

“I said, ‘I have an idea’ to my wife,” said Johnson. “I said, ‘Just listen to me and don’t say no right away.’ But I told her what I wanted to do, and she said, ‘let’s do it!’” said Johnson.

They make all types of pizzas, including meat lovers, one that tastes like a Cuban sandwich and another with the main ingredient of pickles. Through the years, Johnson said he had made every single one of them.

While most of the ingredients are local and made from scratch, how the pizzas are cooked is why Johnson says they taste so good. On the food truck is a 4,000-pound brick pizza oven that gets up to 600 degrees.

“The pizzas take about two minutes to cook,” said Johnson.

Johnson uses a special kind of cheese for the pizza, and it comes all the way from Wisconsin.

“If you go to Italy, you get a pie, and most of the time it’s going be just a margarita, so red sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and a little bit of olive oil. The cheese that we use is actually probably some of the best cheese that you can get for pizza. It’s called Bacio. It’s from Wisconsin and actually has a little bit of buffalo milk in,”

Johnson said he makes his sauce from scratch.

“I just really care about the product that I put out and that’s it means a lot to me just to be able to give a product to somebody and just make them happy. I mean, to know that I’ve done every single pizza that’s come out of the oven was pretty special to me,” said Johnson.

You can find the truck just off I-40 on TN-92, just past the Weigel’s gas station.