This summer, Pitzze owner Tiger Mullen is going to realize a dream he's had since 2013. The Bethesda pizzeria owner is slated to open Tomato Flyer Pizza Co. in July, a mobile pizzeria built into the back of a 1947 International Harvester flatbed truck. Three trucks, exactly. Mullen found the antique trucks in North Carolina and is rebuilding them to be both reliable vehicles and mobile coal-fired pizza ovens. "I have my eyes open for other ones all the time. There are not many of them left, they are far and few between," he said of the trucks.
Mullen was inspired by similar operations like Connecticut's The Big Green Pizza Truck and The Rolling in Dough pizza truck, but between running his pizzeria (then called Haven Pizzeria) and running an accounting firm, being a dad and life in general, he wasn't able to get it off the ground in 2013. Investors bought his share out of Haven Pizzeria, but he bought it back last year and rebranded as Pitzze with a revamped menu, a new pizza dough recipe and new beer and wine list. He sold his accounting practice as well. "Now I’m completely 100 percent focused on the food business," he said.
When Tomato Flyer opens, the trucks will drive to birthday parties, anniversary parties and other events and transform into a little pizzeria on the spot. Tomato Flyer will serve salad, custom pizzas made to order, as well as cappuccino, espresso and coffee made on the truck and homemade gelato from Pitzze. Mullen plans to have Tomato Flyer trucks drive within a 35 mile radius of Bethesda, but they could drive farther for a small mileage fee. He's planning to get licenses for Tomato Flyer in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Pennsylvania.