Wood-Fired Pizza Place’s First Location To be In Ames

If you’ve walked the stretch of Lincoln Way across from Lake Laverne this past year, you may have noticed a few new restaurants – especially if there is a line from one all the way to Starbucks.

Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza at 2420 Lincoln Way.

Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza at 2420 Lincoln Way will be the next pizza stop to open up along that block, with plans to open at the end of June. In preparation, Smokin’ Oak will have walk-in interviews through May 13 for part-time and full-time employees, with or without restaurant experience.

Positions include tablestaff, pizza preparers, oven operators, cashiers and cooks. The wood-fired pizza restaurant is also looking for part-time and full-time assistant managers and will cross-train its team members for future career growth, according to a release from the restaurant. Training will begin May 30 for employees.

Smokin’ Oaks’ CEO Matt Mongoven, after living in London for eight years, met up with his lifelong friend Linda, who had opened Pi Wood-fired Pizza in Rochester, Minnesota. The two friends partnered together to franchise her restaurant under Smokin’ Oak Wood-fired Pizza. The two restaurants have a lot in common: a fast casual setup, a shared menu and locations near big universities.

Campustown Hospitality Group, LLC is responsible for bringing Smokin’ Oak’s first location to Ames, Iowa.

At the Lincoln Way location, customers will enter the restaurant and queue to the right, watching pizza preparation behind the counter and perusing the menu while they wait to order at the cashier. They then move on to drinks and choosing a table. The restaurant will seat around 80 people.

“We have fourteen specialty pizzas,” Mongoven said. “We have a build-your-own option, but it’s not a ‘start here and say ‘I want mozzerella’ [ordering process].”

One of the specialty pizzas is a Cyclone pizza, with jalepenos, red peppers and pineapple included in the ingredients. The CEO said the restaurant hopes to be integrated into the community, mentioning game day specials and mounted TVs, along with their menu of draft beer and pizza, to pull in the game-day crowd.

“Our whole mantra is we’re smokin-fast and smokin-fresh. We’re fast in that we make your pizza in 90 seconds,” Mongoven said. “In terms of freshness, we take that to the ‘nth’ degree. We don’t have a freezer in our restaurant.”

Food preparation occurs daily in the restaurant. Employees will make the pizza dough and tomato sauce, hand-chop vegetables throughout the day as needed and roast meats in the oven in the morning.

“Really nothing comes out of a bag. We do as much as we can in front of the customer,” Mongoven said.

Smokin’ Oak can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. Snapchat users will be able to watch the grand opening at the end of June.

Open Interview Times for Smokin’ Oak

Interviews will be:

Monday, May 1 – Thursday May 4, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday, May 5, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Monday, May 8 – Thursday, May 11, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday, May 12, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Fast Facts on Smokin’ Oak

Opening date: End of June

Atmosphere: Fast casual, with seating for 80

Menu: salads, cheese breads, specialty and build-your-own thin-crust pizzas, draft beer and wine

Fun fact: General Manager Brian Ladd is an alum