About Us


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!

Fresh Ingredients

We deliver authentic, artisan pizza using high quality fresh ingredients, no bagged meats, or prepackaged vegetables! Our tomato sauce, prepared using fresh, crushed tomatoes, is renowned for its taste and quality. Our vegetables and meats are hand‐cut daily and select meats are roasted in our wood-fired oven.

Our proprietary pizza dough is made fresh daily using a multi-day fermentation process to develop the most complex flavors and create a lighter, tastier crust that our Guests love.

The Self-Pour Taproom

We elevate the Guest experience with our self-pour taproom. Guests choose from a wide range of beer, wine and mixed cocktails (where available). Once the Guest has their RFID bracelet, they choose their drink, and pour anywhere from an ounce to a full pint. The taproom wall diversifies the revenue stream for the franchise owner, increases the check average all while providing a fun experience for our Guests.

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The US Pizza Market Generates $46 BILLION IN SALES
42% OF DRINKING-AGE ADULTS Order an Alcoholic Beverage with Their Meal at Casual Dining Restaurants