Damiano's Wood Fired Pizza, a local food truck serving Neapolitan-style pies, celebrates two years around the sun this Sat. Feb. 2 starting at 4 p.m. at Low Tide Brewing. In honor of all things pizza and beer, we chatted with owner Ciro Damiano, who was happy to deep-dish about his 'za and how he sees his food truck helping Charleston's cuisine scene grow.
Originally from Naples, Italy, Damiano says when he moved to the U.S., he couldn't find any good pizza places. At first, he satisfied his cravings for the taste of Italia by making pizza at home, then, when a friend told him he was selling a trailer with a wood-fired oven, Damiano bought his first restaurant on wheels. Damiano did some trial runs with the trailer, whipping up pies for friends and gathering feedback. It wasn't until he participated in an Italian festival in Summerville that he realized the trailer wouldn't do. He needed a real deal food truck.
"It's pretty intense," Damiano says of running the truck. "People think it's easier than a restaurant, but you are always in a rush. There's no quiet time, you're always busy. It's also difficult having to prepare the food ahead of time and load it on the truck, jumping from one place to another is hectic." But Damiano accepts the hustle and bustle, saying that "even though moments might not be great, I still enjoy it all because it puts me in connection with my culture."
Damiano hopes he won't be stuck inside the hot box for long. As he's seen his business grow, he's been looking to open a brick and mortar. But opening your own place is no easy feat either, and until then, Damiano is able to still serve hundreds of hungry customers. "It is nicely engineered with the ginormous brick oven built on the porch of the truck and from the outside you're able to see it — it's very impressive to see, even for me and I've had it for two years."
As far as the pies the impressive oven is cranking out (with a choice of 12 inches or seven inches for lunchtime stops), Damiano says he tries to stick with as classic an interpretation of Neapolitan style pizza as he can by importing flour and tomatoes from Italy and letting his dough rise for a full 24 hours.
The chef also imports fresh mozz from the homeland on the occasion he can't make it himself. "Everything is made to order, so customers can look at the menu and make changes," Damiano says. "The actual dough ball is pressed at the moment, topped at the moment, and cooked at the moment the customer places the order."
Chow down on this made-to-order pizza paired with a pint at Low Tide this weekend. We're thinking Damiano's Margherita and the brewery's Purdy Good IPA could be a match made in beer/pizza heaven.