Inside the Okie Goodness food truck
Okie Goodness’s wood-fired pizza.
The Okie Goodness Airstream trailer was parked outside American Solera’s SoBo taproom when I met up with OG business partners Scott Moore and Bret Perkins. They were hanging inside, enjoying a beer between orders.
“Solera beers always have a fun little face in it,” Moore said. “Look at this right here.”
He pointed to the foam residue on the sides of the glass. Sure enough, there were two eyes and
“I always have monsters in my beer,” Moore said. Perkins laughed, but the image in Moore’s foam drizzle looked just like The Misfits’ band logo, the Crimson Ghost.
Inside the Airstream is a large brick oven decorated with a mosaic of green, yellow, cobalt blue, and pearl tiles. The ceiling is a smooth seafoam green. Behind the oven sits a large industrial-sized mixer. The interior vibe is somewhere between that of a New Age artist’s studio and a forest cottage.
It was a busy night at Okie Goodness. When I arrived, the oven was just getting to the desired temperature. Moore had been working on it all day.
“Your oven is key,” he said. “Temperature is key. A lot of people think, ‘I’m gonna cook a pizza at 1,000 degrees for three minutes.’ No. You’re burning the pizza, and center is not cooked.”
In his trailer, Moore painstakingly monitors the wood fire with an infrared temperature probe, trying to set up distinct zones: different spots in the oven for different phases of the pizza’s journey. It can take hours to get right.
After years of experience, Moore has a very detailed opinion about what makes a good pizza. An Okie Goodness “El Diablo” pizza, for example, is an artful pile of gooey, crunchy, chewy madness. The crust’s unpredictably charred edges reflect both carefulness and spontaneity. There’s a balanced interplay between pepperoni, peppered bacon, spicy sweet sausage, and jalapeños. Sweet, umami, salty, and tangy cooperate but hold their own. And as it turns out, this pizza tastes pretty great with a cold glass of American Solera’s Terpy Galaxy.
Moore’s passion for making the perfect pizza began in high school while working part-time at Vito’s, a Tulsa-based chain whose heyday was in the mid-‘80s.
“I got so obsessed with making the dough. I got upset when someone screwed it up, so I would go in in the morning at 5:30 a.m. and make the dough myself.
“You’ve gotta have passion with your dough. And if you don’t have passion with your dough … ” Moore trailed off, staring into the distance, searching for the perfect words. Before he found them, another customer put in an order.
Moore is intensely opinionated about food, and he has put in the years to back that up. His pedigree in the Tulsa restaurant scene started in 1995 when he helped open local Italian restaurant Tucci’s, which he managed until 2004. In 2008, he opened Hey Mambo in the Tulsa Arts District. After seven years at Hey Mambo, he sold his share in the business. The logistical realities of the brick and mortar restaurant world had been drawing him away from what he loved about making food: a close connection between cooking and the community.
Enter Bret Perkins and the Airstream.
Around the time Moore was looking into buying a food truck, Perkins purchased the Airstream with ambitions of starting his own community-centered business. Problem was, he didn’t know how to properly use the oven, and his first attempts at making pizza were a disaster. A chance meeting got the two talking, and soon a partnership was formed. The two shared a similar philosophy about food and community, so they stoked the flames of their vision like the glowing logs in the pizza oven.
Some of Perkins and Moore’s community-centered efforts involve the mountain biking scene. They plan to serve food for their second year at the Turkey Mountain Bike Festival (Feb. 24–25) in support of Burn Camp, an organization benefitting burn victims. With time, they plan to do more community-based food gigs.
“There’s a vision I have,” Perkins said. “We have shirts that say ‘Goodness Rising.’ Okie Goodness is about good food, gathering people together. Goodness Rising is Oklahoma people doing great things, giving back to the community. Goodness Rising is not just great pizza, but doing cool things locally.”
Okie Goodness is often at American Solera’s SoBo location (108 E. 18th St.) Wed.–Sun. Check facebook.com/okiegoodness for their daily location.