Smile Politely

Pizza truck Flour and Fire doesn’t disappoint

Ever since Dragon Fire Pizza departed Champaign, there has been a pizza truck shaped hole in my heart. Over the last few months, Flour and Fire has truly healed me — healed me with hot honey and barbecue sauce. I take my pizza very seriously; after all, it is one of the greatest foods ever invented.

When I heard of a new pizza joint, I had to give it a try, and now I’ve given it several tries! If you haven’t visited or heard of it yet, Flour and Fire is a wood fired pizza oven on wheels. Flour and Fire should absolutely be on your list of pizzas to try in town. A lot of their pizzas revolve around my favorite flavor pairing: sweet and spicy. In fact, their unique menu ingredient is much beloved Mike’s Hot Honey. I’ve been a devotee of hot honey on pizza for a couple years now, so when I heard that was Flour and Fire’s hook, I already knew they had me.

The last couple weekends I have made the pilgrimage out to Riggs where our intrepid dough slingers set up in the evenings. This is not a short hike for me (clocking in just under a 20 minute drive), so you know I must think they’re good.

Let’s get to the pies.

On a sunny brown table, there is a pizza in a paper box. Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Photo by Nina Hopkins.

I consider the ultimate test of a pizzeria to be how well they do the simple things, and Flour and Fire’s Margherita ($11.00) passed muster. With a Margherita pizza, there is nothing to hide behind: the dough and sauce have to stand on their own. Boy, does Flour and Fire’s. I will be the first to admit I tend to like a sweeter sauce, but Flour and Fire is not that kind of place.

I appreciated the bright taste of the tomato in the sauce. I could tell these folks really respected the beauty of the San Marzano tomatoes they used, and they wanted that taste to come through. As for the crust, I try to not use the word perfect very often, but for me? This crust was perfect. It had the chew that I really want from a good Neapolitan-style pizza, and the char on the bottom from the wood fire was something I just can’t get without the wood fire oven heat. If you want a good hint of what the base for every other Flour and Fire pizza, try the Margherita first.

On a brown table, there is a pizza box with a red sauce pizza, sliced in triangular slices with none taken yet. Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Photo by Nina Hopkins.

The Second City ($11) was a thing of balance and beauty. This pizza was one of my favorites from the pizza truck. It was a classic red sauce pizza topped with spicy sausage and hot giardiniera. You might think the hot sausage with hot peppers would be a little much, but it was just right. The vinegar in the giardiniera and fattiness of the pork sausage balanced each other, neither overtaking the pizza as a whole. The fat is something that carries heat well, and it coated my mouth. The Second City’s heat grew on me and never went too far, thanks to that fat and vinegar balance. Both my friend and I have ordered this a couple times, and it never disappoints. On an earlier visit, I also compared the Second City pizza to the sweet heat pizza ($11). The sweet heat has a lot more meat, but if you’re a heat lover, I would strongly recommend the Second City pizza because it was a bit hotter and delivered a more satisfying spice.

On a sun-drenched table, there is an open cardboard pizza box with a full BYO pizza sliced. Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Like any good pizza place, Flour and Fire also has a build-your-own option ($9 plus $1 for each topping), and this was how I gave their white sauce a try. The white sauce is the base for their funghi pizza ($11) but since I’m not the biggest mushroom fan, I went with the build-your-own route. I chose white sauce for my base and for my toppings, I chose chicken, roasted red peppers, and red onions. This combo is my tried-and-true combination of toppings that I’ve ordered for over 10 years to test build-your-own pizza options.

I have to say I was pretty pleased. The white sauce was heavy on thyme, and I think that would play well with mushrooms on a funghi pizza. Chicken on pizza can be prone to drying out and end up less satisfying because of that. Flour and Fire, however, might have magic chicken because every time I’ve gotten chicken as a topping, it’s been perfect and in nice big chunks that I can tell have been pulled by hand.

On a sunny table, there is a full pizza pie of BBQ chicken ranch pizza. Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Photo by Nina Hopkins.

The pizza that has brought me back to Flour and Fire’s pizza truck time and time again is the BBQ chicken ranch pizza ($12). Many moons ago, I was a pizza purist, and I wouldn’t have ever ordered a barbecue pizza. Then I started dating someone who isn’t a fan of red sauce, and I was utterly converted to the BBQ chicken pizza life.

I have tried a lot of BBQ chicken pizzas in town, and Flour and Fire’s is my favorite. Their sauce was sweet with a great kick to it, and the ranch wasn’t so strong that it fought with the barbecue flavor. Plus, it had that magic chicken cooked just right. The barbecue sauce was literally made to be a complement to the smoky char of open fire cooking. I never would have thought of it, but a wood fired pizza and barbecue sauce are a match made in heaven. Like the Second City pizza, there was a balance here that made both my sweet tooth and internal spice seeker happy. I highly recommend you try this one.

Four and Fire might be the newest addition to the Champaign-Urbana pizza game, but they have come in swinging with some incredibly strong and tasty options. If you haven’t given them a shot yet, you’re missing out. This is my new favorite pizza place — and I’ll even keep driving all the way out to Riggs for them.

On a brown table, there are four pizzas in cardboard pizza boxes. The boxes are all open, and the sliced full pizza pies are circles inside the brown square boxes. Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Photo by Nina Hopkins.

Flour and Fire is incredibly reliable on their Facebook page and their website. They update where they’re kneaded every week at the start of the week. I love a good pun, and I love that kind of ease for finding a food truck. You can even order online for pick up, but I would check their page because sometimes online ordering isn’t available.

Flour and Fire
various locations in C-U
T-Sa 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
W+F 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sa 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Top image by Nina Hopkins.

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