Community Crust takes its pizza on the road
The Community Crust wood-fired pizza trailer is becoming a familiar sight around Stockholm, Plum City and the surrounding area.
Ryan and Robyn Trannel turned their love of wood-fired pizza into a family-run mobile restaurant business that uses locally-sourced meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit.
“Pizza was key,” Ryan said when talking of how they chose their route. “We fell in love with it (wood-fired pizza) years ago.”
Robyn said their family was “craving it desperately” when they moved to the Town of Maiden Rock two years ago from Onalaska.
The family of four began peddling their made from scratch pizzas in May from a 20-foot enclosed, custom built trailer with a commercial wood-fired oven, when they set up a base in Stockholm between Stockholm Pie and General Store and The Palate. The family affair includes Carolyn (9) and Gavin (11), who take orders from customers and handle money transactions.
They have since taken their pizza to community festivals such as Maiden Rock Summerfest, Pepin’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Days, the Pepin County Fair, area wineries and other venues.An idea is born
Robyn, who works as a library media specialist for the Plum City School District, and Ryan, who works remotely as an IT project manager for Trane, a La Crosse-based heating and air conditioning systems company, started thinking up a restaurant business last fall, and decided to go mobile.
The name Community Crust comes from the “awesome crust” which is the key ingredient to their pizza; their goal to use locally-sourced ingredients from the community; and their commitment to community service, Ryan and Robyn said.
He credits Robyn with her recipes’ creativity, as well as her expertise in developing new recipes. The menu changes every week, depending on what is in season and fresh at local farmer’s markets, her herb garden, her family’s gardens and her cousin’s CSA (Raven Wolf Farm, which is next door to their home).
“We keep discovering more specialities in the area,” Ryan said. “The stuff that happens to be by us is really great stuff. The fresher the ingredients, the better the product.”
For example, the Trannels like to use pepperoni from Sailer’s Food Market and Meat Processing in Elmwood, Italian sausage from JM Watkins in Plum City and cheese from Eau Galle Cheese Factory.
They also credit their families for much appreciated help in their new business venture, including Robyn’s parents, Robert and Carol Kadow, who live next door to them; and Robyn’s brother Tim and his wife Tara from New Richmond.
They said they’re often asked which pizza or ingredient is their favorite, and all four admitted it’s hard to pick just one. Ryan said he likes anything with the smoked gouda cheese; Carolyn said possibly pepperoni, though she wasn’t firm in her answer; Gavin named caramelized onions; while Robyn picked smoked garlic. They all agreed pineapple was a hit.
One story that stands out for the family is at Summerfest when the trailer’s refrigerator door opened during transport and the trailer was a sea of strawberry soup. The cleanup put them behind all day, they said.
“If we can make it through that, we can make it through anything,” Ryan said.Fundraisers
Community Crust is dedicated to helping area groups raise funds, donating 20 percent of their sales at fundraising events to specific causes.
Last month, the Trannels served their pizza in Spring Pond Park in Plum City, with proceeds going toward the Merri Heirs 4-H Club. Next Monday, they’ll be serving in the same location from 4-7 p.m. to benefit the Plum City Support Our Schools group.
The Trannels will be operating through the end of October on weekends around the region and plan to cater their first wedding next spring. For more information, visit them at www.communitycrust.org, find them on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.