New pizza place in for a slice of the action

Published 10:00am 19 November 2022

Words by Jodie Powell

The owner of the Moreton Bay Region’s newest pizzeria says he raised a few eyebrows when he decided to open next to a Domino’s outlet.

But Chris Gill reckons comparing his offering with his competitor’s is like comparing chalk and cheese.

And he ought to know. The Woodfired Oven has amassed a loyal and dedicated following across The Hills District and Brisbane’s inner suburbs since Chris, wife Lorelle and their family hit the roads in their pizza trucks several years ago.

“We’re a totally different product,” Chris says

The onset of the COVID pandemic didn’t put a dint in the mobile pizza business – with restaurants in lockdown, the demand for quality takeaway surged, with The Woodfired Oven meeting a 225 precent jump in orders and adding a new truck.

Permanent base

With two trucks rotating through regular stops on set nights of the week at Everton Park, Ferny Grove, Ashgrove and The Gap and Bardon, Chris says a shopfront is the next logical step.

The official opening of The Woodfired Oven at Arana Hills on Friday brought with it benefits for the local economy, with the number of staff employed increasing from 20 to 35.

“We’d like to be able to allow the community that has grown around us to come and enjoy themselves and relax,” Chris says.

“It’s a place to come and sit when it’s windy and rainy and we can’t operate (the trucks).”

Since taking over a space on Dawson Pde at Arana Hills in June, Chris – originally a cabinet maker by trade – and his family have been hard at work creating a cosy space for The Woodfired Oven’s first permanent base.

Expanded menu

The magnificent curved ironbark counter and curved bench seating along one wall are all Chris’s handiwork, as are the paler wooden tables, the mural in the business’s corporate colours and more.

“We’ve done it all, except the electrical, the plumbing and the air conditioning,” he says with well-deserved pride.

Adding to mobile Woodfired Oven pizza favourites such as Italian Sausage and Pepperoni, Meat Lovers, 4-Cheeses and Smoked Chicken and Feta are fries and loaded fries and barbecued delights such as pork belly burnt ends and smoked pork ribs.

Secret ingredient

There’s also a range of smashed burgers which have impressed Chris and Lorelle’s son, Dylan, who will be in charge of Arana Hills while his parents continue to run the trucks.

“I was pretty surprised by what Dad’s done with them,” Dylan laughs.

Chris says the burgers are made with wagyu mince and American pickles and cheese – but there’s also a secret ingredient that sets them apart from the rest.

“We make our own sauce, and I think that’s what makes the difference,” he says.

The Woodfired Oven menu caters for coeliacs and gluten-intolerant diners and includes dessert pizzas, and gelato, thick shakes, spiders and milkshakes made from gelato produced in Brisbane.

Find The Woodfired Oven at Shop 2/290 Dawson Pde, Arana Hills. It’s open Tuesday-Saturday, with mobile pizza trucks at various locations Tuesday-Friday.

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