Take a Bite of Red Horse Pizza in Santa Rosa
It demands a double take: a bright red horse trailer parked in front of a popular Santa Rosa brewery becomes even more interesting when you realize it has been converted to a pizza parlor. But it's true, with Red Horse Pizza now at the new HenHouse Brewing Company on Bellevue Avenue near Stony Point.
Back in 2011, owners Kendra and Nathan and Stuffelbeam started with a plain white, 1990s-era stock trailer. They gutted it, painted it cherry red, installed a gas oven, countertops, a serving window, sinks, a refrigerator, and glass windows. They called their enterprise 'The Pie Place,' crafting simple pizzas and fruit pies.
Their first opening weekend was a great success — they sold more than 275 pizzas and 15 whole fruit pies. Clearly, customers were particularly interested in the pizzas, so the Stuffelbeams switched their emphasis to the savory delights.
Well, it's a horse trailer, after all. So you peruse the brief chalkboard menu and order at the window, food truck style. Then one of the Stuffelbeams delivers your pie to your seat at a picnic table under a gazebo, or inside, to the HenHouse tap room.
Crispy thin, slightly chewy and charred sourdough crusts are topped in organic, seasonal ingredients. Always on the menu are the Margherita with fresh mozzarella and an unusual addition of lots of garlic and oregano amid the red sauce ($11.50), a mushroom-pepperoni-kalamata olive combo ($15.50), and sausage atop a bed of pesto, red onion and roasted broccoli ($15.50).
Weekly specials get even more inventive – a recent feast offered olive oil, purple roasted sweet potato, caramelized onion, lime, crème fraiche, and fresh herbs ($15.50) and we added bacon for $3. Another week, we dug into a pie decorated with olive oil, mozzarella, braised kale, heirloom beans, sweet onion, and smoked cheddar ($15.50). Beans on pizza are brilliant, adding lovely texture and earthy flavor.
As for the 'pizza claw,' it's a pizza dough quesadilla of sorts, stuffed with red sauce, garlic, mozzarella, and kalamata olives, all smothered in arugula ($12).
And if the special of housemade pickle plates is offered, get it — the crunchy, tart bites are fancy, even if they are served on a paper-lined tin tray.
Just don't plan on sharing much. These are single-size servings, and even a dainty appetite can devour a whole pie. Flavors are quite bold, too, starting with the sourdough crust and flurry of seasonings. The big flavors work well with HenHouse's often-big beers, especially the sour and barrel-aged brews.
The pizza truck rolls in only on the weekends, parking from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays; 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Seasonal bites include the apple claw, stuffed with Gravenstein apples, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and crème fraiche. It pairs great with HenHouse's seasonal apricot sour suds.
HenHouse beers, of course.
Details: 322 Bellevue Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-292-9251, redhorsepizza.com.