Opal & Hazels Wood Fired Pizza began just a year ago, in May of 2020. Scott and Annette Merchant discovered wood-fired pizza for the first time at a fair and absolutely loved it. They said, "For several years after that, we always tried to find wood-fired pizza on vacations or any place else we went."
Having already built an outdoor kitchen on their patio, they decided that a wood-fired pizza oven would be a great addition. The couple then built one, worked on their recipes, ingredients and procedures, and then invited people over and Scott says, "We ate a LOT of pizza!"
In conversation, one evening, the subject of the pizza trailer came up and at first they laughed about it. Then they started thinking about it. That lead to the 2 years of research on everything associated with the food truck/trailer business. In late 2019 wheels were set in motion, and they ordered their first trailer in February of 2020 right before the Pandemic started.
The couple went ahead and moved forward with their plans not knowing what was going to happen to the foodservice industry. They opened in May and have never looked back. "The Pandemic was actually very kind to us as we are not a restaurant and our pizza is all “to-go” which fell within the guidelines of restaurants.
Our name comes from grandmothers on both sides. Opal Schirm was Scott’s grandmother and Hazel Snydock was Annette’s. We honor their lives and what they stood for in our business. Having descendants of both Opal and Hazel as well as some close friends involved in our business has been key to our success," the couple shared.
Because the business is mobile, they have the opportunity to visit many towns for “street sales” as well as cater special events like graduations, weddings and business celebrations (ie Wilson Hite Anniversary in 2020).
After the Derecho, Opal and Hazel's traveled to Shellsburg, Atkins, Keystone, Van Horne and Belle Plaine. At each of these downs devastated by the storm damage, they gave away pizza, drinks and other goodies to families and workers in the affected towns. Many area residents and businesses provided monetary donations to help pull this off.
The business rotates between their home base in Vinton to Shellsburg, Urbana, Atkins, Dysart and soon we will make an appearance at the La Porte City Farmers Market. Their pizza has also made trips to Solon, Iowa City, Central City, Walker, Iowa City, Swisher and New Vienna for special events.
With town celebrations opening back up, be sure to watch for them at Vinton’s Party in the Park, Edgewood Rodeo Days, Strawberry Point Days and they will also be making a trip to The Cedar Falls Motorsports Park.
People can follow Opal and Hazel's Wood Fired Pizza on Facebook as well as Instagram. They also offer a monthly newsletter called “The Slice” that lists their monthly schedule, information about a “featured employee of the month” as well as some fun pizza facts. To subscribe, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to join them for their 1st Anniversary celebration event at Riverside Park. Pizza will start coming out of the oven at 5 p.m. this Friday the 28th. There will be prizes for adults and kids, as well as music to enjoy for those who would like to just hang out with their friends and family.
The Menu at both Riverside and Dysart will include: Specialty- “Beer Cheese & Brats”
Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Sausage, Crumbled Bacon, Sauerkraut, Fresh Mushrooms, Green Pepper and Red Onions
Specialty Pizza is $11.00
Single Topping is $10.00
Additional Toppings $1.00 each
Pizza average 11”
(Walk-up orders only)