Before it’s geared up and ready to go, Sydney’s newest mobile food “truck” looks like a box. A big, white, metal box. Then the front wall lifts into an awning, a bar rolls out the front and inside there’s a Neapolitan pizza oven, jars of San Marzano tomatoes and a bag of ultra-fine Italian flour.
The ship is a Da Mario project, so it carries the prestigious authentic pizza certification from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. The pizzas are exactly what Neapolitan pizza should be – thin and soft at the base, puffed and blistered at the edge, and most importantly, with all the flavours of a long dough fermentation. “This is something I've wanted to do for years,” says Da Mario’s Marcelo Cowdrill. “We have this product which can be only made in a wood-fired oven. How do you get wood-fired pizza to the people? We could put an oven in the container and move the idea around.”
The re-fitted shipping container, which was designed by interior designer Victoria Hampshire, is in its first week of operation, almost. The team isn’t serving to the public yet – for now it is trialling the new oven outside Da Mario’s Rosebery while a first pop-up site is settled. “We'll probably start next week,” says Cowdrill. “Ideally we'd like to find locations that we can pop up at for weeks or a few months. We'd like to talk to councils about popping up in public spaces and we’d like to do some collaborations.”
Depending on where the team pops up, it might also run a bar fridge and a small picnic-style set up. “We might put a white picket fence out, some grass and some tables and chairs,” Cowdrill says. “Ideally we’d love to serve some Menabreas [Italian beer], too.” Although adding a tap may add an inconvenient amount of extra weight (there’s been some trouble loading the container onto trucks), Cowdrill says they’ll try to serve some kind of beer along with the Da Mario house red and white.
Because the pizzas are now street snacks, rather than restaurant dishes, the ones served out of the shipping container will be 10 inches, not the standard 13. “It’s so you can have one on your own. The price will reflect the new size too,” Cowdrill says.
Check damario.com.au/pop-up for future locations.