Our Story

A Passion for a Great Pizza Experience


The Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza Story

It started with a curly haired little girl going over to an equally curly haired little boy (minding his own business in his parents driveway, sitting on his big wheel), and asking, “Will you be my friend?”.  The rest is history, or should we say, that’s where the story begins.

Matt Mongoven and Linda Black grew up across the street from each other in Rochester, MN.  Life-long friends, with paths that took them in different directions for many years, they came back together to develop Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza off of the incredibly popular Pi Wood-Fired Pizza restaurant (one of the first successful, fast casual wood-fired pizza restaurants in the US), opened by Linda in 2009.

Great Food. Period.

Linda opened the flagship restaurant in 2009.  Already an amazing restaurateur and now a famed individual in the pizza universe, Linda developed the original restaurant assuming there would be hundreds of them around the country one day.  Every decision made — for recipes, menu items, the guest experience, the operation and layout of the restaurant and the training of the team members — has been meticulously thought through over the years. The result is a restaurant that keeps guests coming back for more.

We spent years perfecting every aspect of our pizza recipes – from the dough recipe (shhh!….it’s a secret) to our made-in-house sauce and the unique flavor combinations we’ve created using freshly grated cheese, meats roasted in our wood-fired oven, and hand-cut veggies. Once your pizza is made to order, it’s launched into the wood-fired oven and takes just a couple of minutes to bake.


Now it’s Time to Grow.

There are three things that make a franchise great: product, system, and people.  We firmly believe that Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza is the best pizza franchise in the US.  In 2016 we developed the trade name Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza and began franchising across the country.  Our first locations opened in Iowa, Colorado, and Nebraska.  In 2020 we developed the Taproom concept, which pairs the self-serve Taproom Wall along with our fantastic menu featuring wood-fired pizza, salads, starters, and desserts.  Future growth is happening throughout the US.  Come grow with us!


Tap. Taste. Repeat.

Pizza and beer are lifelong friends.
And we’ve got beer, and more, at our self-serve taproom.


Franchise Opportunities

Our unique wood-fired oven pizza and interactive dining experience concept not only gives each of our guests a “wow”, but also boasts impressive industry-leading cost ratios attracting new franchisees all over the U.S.

We hope you enjoy Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza as much as we do and are confident you will find that it is different from any other franchise pizza concept!

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