With a new pizza truck imported from Naples, Italy, Berkeley restaurant Lucia’s will soon be bringing pizza on the go to the Bay Area community.
According to restaurant co-owner Steve Dumain, the truck will start operating on either the Saturday after Thanksgiving or the next weekend. Dumain said the truck will open at 9 a.m. at the Oakland-Grand Lake Farmers Market, run by the Agricultural Institute of Marin.
“We’ve had the restaurant for two years, and we just wanted a way to have more access for customers who wanted our pizzas and make it more affordable,” Dumain said. “Prices are much lower at the truck than they would normally be in the restaurant — and we can reach more people and have people try the authentic pizzas we’re making.”
According to a press release from the restaurant, the “vintage Italian made truck” was built from an Italian 1981 Piaggio Ape truck and completely remodeled to host a handmade wood-fired brick oven. Often used as a local utility and delivery vehicle across the country, the pizza truck is a landmark automobile in Italy, according to the press release.
“Pizza is seen as a street food. In Italy, there are different types of pizza. I went to Naples last year, when I had pizza portafoglio, which are these smaller pizzas that are folded in four. And you buy them during the day and walk around,” said co-owner Alessandro Uccelli. “Pizza portafoglio or wallet pizza — pizza as a street food is part of its history.”
According to Uccelli, Lucia’s works with high-quality ingredients from Italy and the local community. The press release said the flour comes from Salerno, Italy, while the mozzarella cheese is made in Berkeley. Uccelli also said the restaurant may explore partnerships with farmers’ markets in order to get more local and sustainable ingredients.
While Dumain said the restaurant is currently experimenting with its first truck, he and Uccelli expressed that there are many different opportunities to expand. Uccelli said possible ideas for expansion include making more pizza trucks and going to multiple locations at the same time. They also said they plan to reach out to the UC Berkeley community to bring their truck to events, such as campus events or fraternity house parties.
“The restaurant is located in Berkeley, so the first order of business is to work with the university and local companies to establish some catering and private events with our food trucks or the restaurant,” Uccelli said. “The diversity of the people who work at the university makes it easy for us because there are people who are used to this kind of pizza or this kind of food.”