If you glimpse a turquoise tow truck rolling down the Greenville drag, it’s not heading to the nearest garage. The only thing this refurbished rig’s hauling is some serious dough. Last fall, Charleston-based pizza caterer Coastal Crust hit the Upstate food scene in a ’55 Chevy, and this truck’s been shuckin’ out Neapolitan-style pizza pies ever since.
The scent of rising dough is intoxicating. An array of toppings await in cool metallic containers—prosciutto, mozzarella, and fresh greens just in from Reedy River Farms. The pie I order will be garnished with red Russian kale, gorgonzola, and almonds, but not quite yet. I watch as Chef Matt Cole turns the dough (crafted with Caputo flour), drizzles garlic olive oil over the surface, and slides it into the half moon opening of the truck’s built-in, wood-fire oven.
“I like the dough to kiss the fire right when it goes in there,” says Chef Cole, as he sticks a bare arm into the oven, scooting the pies closer to the flames. “It gives that nice color. Some people say char . . . we call it leopard spots.”
He grabs a wooden peel and pulls out my pie. It’s been 90 seconds. The bottom is speckled with dark brown spots; the dough and cheese bubble in pure pizza bliss. After he adorns and cuts, I take a bite. It is a slice of heaven.
Fired Up // Chef Cole cooks the pies in a Valoriani wood-fired oven built into the truck (along with taps for beer and wine). It takes only 90 seconds to deliver cheesy nirvana.
But it’s not just the pizzas that inspire awe; it’s the truck, as well. Refurbished with reclaimed wood and painted a kicky bright teal, the truck boasts shelving, storage, a built-in bar, and, of course, the time-tested Valoriani wood-fired oven. Coastal Crust is technically a catering outfit, which means there’s a little more freedom in their serving style than food trucks. The side opens up, creating a bar where patrons can watch their pizzas turn into perfection.
Beyond the Peel // Chef Matt Cole crafts wood-fired Neapolitan pies in a ’55 Chevy-turned-oven/bar as part of Coastal Crust, a Charleston-based pizza catering company now with wheels in Greenville (and plans to open a brick-and-mortar shop this year).
This inviting atmosphere is exactly what owners Bryan Lewis, Brian Peisner, and Mickey DeMatteis were going for with Coastal Crust, and something Chef Cole appreciates. With a culinary background in restaurants and as a private chef, Cole is thrilled to be a part of bringing Coastal Crust to Greenville. From branch manager to event coordinator, he typically clocks in 14 hour days.
“It’s where I marry both of my passions. I really enjoy private, small functions. Here I do small events with the restaurant side of it. I get the best of both worlds really,” says Chef Cole. And with a brick-and-mortar space set to open on Pendleton Street this year, Greenville’s getting the best of both worlds, too. “We want to be known as a nice little spot where you can get some really good pizza, some beer, and hang out,” says Matt.
Coastal Crust is available for private events, and is also at select locations depending on its schedule (Facebook: Coastal Crust Greenville). 1180 Pendleton St, Greenville. (843) 224-3959, coastalcrustgreenville.com