When SliceTruck brothers David and Chris Hanley heard about the booming food truck business in Los Angeles three years ago, they hopped right into the bandwagon– quite literally.
They bought a one-way ticket from Chicago to Los Angeles, procured a truck at a discounted price (this was months before the food truck-a-day craze), slapped it with some color, wrapped it with a “SliceTruck” logo, then started trucking around the Los Angeles streets expecting an instant line of customers clamoring for their pizza, just like the way Angelenos did for the Kogi truck.
It didn’t happen that way at all. There was no block-long line, there was no instant fan base following them by thousands on Twitter.
Operating a food truck was “not all it’s cracked up to be,” the Hanleys discovered. Instead of having fun cruising around town in a mobile tin kitchen, they were stressing out over finding parking, maintaining their truck, battling traffic and struggling to stand out among the hundreds of other food truck opportunists who shared the same idealistic dream they had. When the Hanleys first started out, there were about 25 trucks in Los Angeles. Now, there are 500—and growing every day.
Somehow, SliceTruck survived. In fact, it just opened a brick-and-mortar three weeks ago in early April. Its truck is still operating, but after three years on the road, the brothers are relieved to finally have their own permanent space.
SliceTruck isn’t a gourmet wood-fire pizzeria (which seems to be gaining huge popularity in L.A.). Nor is it a NY-style pizzeria, or a Chicago deep-dish pizzeria. SliceTruck’s menu is simple and basic; its pizza doesn’t come with fusion spins or wacky combinations or fancy-schmancy ingredients. What differentiates SliceTruck from just a regular pizza branch is its dough, which uses 100 percent Kamut flour, an ancient heirloom grain that has been protected from hybridization or cross-pollination.
“The dough is the foundation of our business,” Chris Hanley said.
Especially because their pizza is so minimalistic, their dough really needs to shine through. That’s why Chris spent 10 months experimenting and honing his pizza dough recipe. When he and his brother’s new restaurant opened, they also silently revealed a brand new recipe. They now use Kamut flour for all their baked goods, including their chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies.
Below is an edited and condensed interview with Chris Hanley, played over a slideshow of pictures of both their food truck and their brick-and-mortar. You can click on the “caption” option for some details on the pictures.
The SliceTruck Interview with Chris Hanley:
2012 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025