A couple’s designs on sharing their love for thin-crust pizza has been picking up steam from Centralia to Poulsbo and beyond, with their roving wood-fired oven scooping up new fans along their travels throughout Washington.
After spending a good chunk of his adult life building and renovating homes as a contractor in Morton, Brent Yerton developed a hankering for a little more day-to-day variety in his life and joined forces with his wife, Starr, in making good on his ambitious dream of spearheading a trailer-based pizza operation.
“We were first going to buy a brick-and-mortar in Morton. But after we realized the overhead cost and the time it was going to take to run the restaurant, we decided to go mobile instead. In April, we decided to drive to Nashville, Tennessee and bought our trailer,” recounted Starr, who also craved the kind of adventure associated with building a new business from the ground up. But with that adventure came uncertainty given how neither one of the two entrepreneurs had ever used a wood-fired oven, let alone handled the kind of food going inside of it.
“Never in a million years did I see myself making pizzas,” added Brent, 52, who still owns his carpentry enterprise. “In this business, I get to meet multiple people each day, whereas in construction, I’m working with one person for a few months or however long the project takes.”
Undaunted by how much knowledge both would have to acquire in entering their new industry, Starr rolled up her sleeves and performed extensive research into their food product and the logistics involved in creating a loyal customer base.
The Yertons soon formulated a small menu of pizza offerings, including classic pepperoni, Margherita, meat lovers and garlic chicken varieties, along with breadsticks and chocolate-chip and brownie desserts. Each of the selections, according to Starr, has developed a following at farmers markets in Chehalis, Toledo and Morton, as well as private and public events in other cities.
“We do thinner crust. The wood fire creates a crispy taste, but also a smoky wood fired flavor. It’s definitely a lighter taste and it’s not dripping with grease,” explained Starr, the 48-year-old Los Angeles-born and Yakima-raised mother and grandmother, who married Brent four years ago.
Her weekly duties require her to accompany Brent on weekly 90-minute trips to Sumner to secure many of the ingredients they’ll need. The dough, in particular, is custom-made for the Yertons by a pizza commissary. The recipe wouldn’t be nearly as flavorful, she claimed, if it’s cooked in any other oven.
But the pizza— which takes no longer than five minutes to cook and serve once an order is placed— isn’t the only component that has allowed Milltown Wood Fired Pizza to rapidly emerge as an overnight success. The real secret sauce is the teamwork of the husband-and-wife duo, who possess complementary skill sets.
While Brent’s construction and repair background has prepared him for the necessary oven and mechanical maintenance that comes with running a mobile food vending entity, Starr’s marketing, planning and social media know-how has helped Milltown break into new areas.
“What’s important for us is making that connection with our community and the surrounding areas. I believe that customer service and making our customers feel special is a big part of it,” Star noted.
One of the ways Brent and Starr have shown appreciation to their adoring public is by inserting a seventh pizza entree to the menu that asks individuals to select three vegetable toppings of their own choosing.
It’s just one of many ways the well-oiled dream team gives back to its growing legion of supporters— one slice at a time.
To view Milltown Wood Fired Pizza’s calendar of future appearances, visit www.milltownwoodfiredpizza.com.