Brian and Eileen Boetel are long-time Valparaiso residents. Eileen grew up in New Jersey, enjoying thin crust pizza. Upon moving to Valparaiso, she was dismayed to find that pizza here was not at all like the pizza she enjoyed while growing up. Brian, having grown up here, did not know any different.
Over the years, they have enjoyed traveling and trying different types of pizza. On a trip to Boise in 2012, they happened upon a restaurant specializing in wood fired pizza. Eileen proclaimed this pizza to be the best she had ever tasted, being very similar to the pizza she had while growing up. Brian agreed. Upon speaking with the waitress, she explained the special flour used in their dough recipe was Caputo 00 – imported from Italy.
An Idea Sparks
At this time, Brian was between careers. He had retired from his teaching career, and was looking for something else to do. Several years prior (around 2007), Brian and Eileen attended a business open house in Michigan, in which wood fired pizza was served. The pizza was very good, and they were intrigued by the oven and the speed with which the pizza cooked. They struck up a conversation with the caterer, who turned out to be the inventor of the oven.
Fast forward back to 2012. Tossing around the idea of opening a mobile wood fired catering business, Brian and Eileen did some research. They attended “pizza school” in Boulder, Colorado. They knew exactly the oven they wanted for the business. They called the inventor, and made arrangements to purchase an oven. They started making pizzas at home and inviting friends over to try the different dough recipes. Without a doubt, the Caputo 00 flour was everyone’s favorite.
Around the Fire Catering Ignites
In December 2012, they catered his sister’s party as a “dry run.” The reception was quite enthusiastic. Through word of mouth, they have gained a reputation for having the best pizza in town.
Brian and Eileen enjoy creating an experience for people. The oven is a conversation piece. It facilitates people gathering “Around the Fire” to enjoy good food, conversation, and friends. Most importantly, the actual pizza is, as two clients have stated: “almost identical to the pizza you get in Italy.” That is the ultimate compliment.
When they are not catering, Brian works as a massage therapist, and Eileen is a nurse anesthetist. They have two grown sons, Drew and Bret, who occasionally assist in making and cooking pizzas. They share their home with two rescue dogs, Dante and Chloe.