College students and Lakeland residents alike love Palace Pizza for more than its affordable pricing. And now, Palace Pizza has one more thing to offer.
You might have seen the mobile Palace roaming the streets of downtown. If you have not or your curiosity still is not sparked, the rumors are true: Palace Pizza has their very own food truck.
Downtown Palace Owner Giovanni Moriello came up with the concept for the truck while visiting friends in New Jersey. He said one of the people he visited created wood fire grills that could be made mobile by attaching them to trailers and such. And so, the mobile wood fire grill was born.
Student Danielle Snodgrass says she is a big fan of both locations.
“I was excited to see they have a food truck,” Snodgrass said. “The pizza tasted just as delicious and the truck was so convenient.”
Getting the truck running was more challenging than anticipated. Ovens such as the one in the Palace Pizza truck can reach temperatures of 900 degrees or more, making them susceptible to cracks and wear created through the transportation process.
According to Moriello, he had to create an oven that resisted driving.
“Every single wood fire oven is different because they are handmade,” Moriello said. “You are playing with the element of the fire. “
The oven on board the truck is an original wood fire grill, hand crafted for cooking authentic Italian pizza. Pizzas are cooked in the oven for less than two minutes and are made from the finest ingredients to ensure flavor and cooking requirements.
“You have to know how to work the pizza,” Moriello explains. “The ingredients are high end. You are cooking in 975 degrees. You have to use real tomatoes, high quality flour, and the best kind of cheese to make a good pizza.”
Moriello explains that the ingredients used on the truck makes the truck pizza healthier. The flour has a lower gluten ingredient than the pizza downtown.
Also, by using super fresh and high-end ingredients, it cuts down the sugar and the processed foods, according to Moriello. You can eat a whole pie and still consume fewer calories than two slices at Palace.
In addition, Moriello says customers notice the difference in the wood fire pizza versus the gas oven pizza downtown. He says his customers eat two slices of Palace Pizza downtown and are full while they can eat a whole pie from the truck and feel satisfied because of the make of the pizza.
Students praise Palace Pizza, including Zach Foster who is a big fan of the stuffed pizza.
“I enjoy the quality of the meat and the pizza is the best I have ever had,” Foster said. “… the atmosphere is so inviting and makes you want to gather your friends together and go for lunch.”
Moriello also explains that the truck was not created for increasing sales. The wood fire grill restricts what can be cooked on the truck due to its high heat.
Coming from an Italian family, Moriello grew up with a brick oven in his backyard. Fueled by a wood fire, his family created all kinds of creations and even made pizza once a week.
“We did it more for showing craft and old style, something authentic and original,” Moriello said. “…. It is an art. I want to show Lakeland something new. I truly believe once people see the difference in wood fire pizza, they won’t go back.”
Students and residents can find the Palace Pizza food truck downtown at the Lakeland Food Truck Rally every second Thursday as well as at First Friday events. Moriello also does catering through the truck by appointment.