Dining / Everything’s poppin’ with pizza

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SMART operators in hospitality must carefully balance familiar with new. Chopping and changing confuses customers, but “same, same” is utterly boring.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

So I was intrigued when I spotted a “wine and pizza” announcement by The Pop Inn.

The Pop Inn – a mobile bar – has joined forces with The Pizza Trailer – a mobile pizza operator – and the combo will continue to pop up periodically.

“We knew The Pizza Trailer from the Old Bus Depot markets and thought their sourdough, woodfired pizzas would be a perfect match for our wines and cheese and meat boards,” says Pop Inn owner Kimberley Ohayon.

When The Pop Inn meets the The Pizza Trailer… periodically popping up together.

The collaboration worked a treat for us, too, as we settled in at Telopea Park one afternoon.

The Pizza Trailer creates its pizza dough with a 30-year-old sourdough starter. It’s proved for around 48 hours before being stretched and topped with amazing ingredients.

Sourdough woodfired pizza, a Naples tradition, is easy to digest. The Pizza Trailer can cook five pizzas at once in the oven on the back of the truck, in 90 seconds. The Margherita ($12) was clean on taste, and the tomato base divine. The mushroom and olive ($14) was yum and the spicy salami and cherry tomato ($16), on an olive oil base, had great kick.

The Pop Inn is famous for its cheese boards, with varieties mainly sourced from Mart Deli, Fyshwick Markets. Kimberley rotates cheeses to maintain interest. The Manchego with rosemary rind is marvellous, triple-cream cows’ milk decadent, and Italian Provolone piccante bitey. Meat boards offer selections by Queanbeyan’s Balzanelli Smallgoods.

The timing for interesting collaborations is perfect with The Pop Inn having just celebrated its second birthday.

The idea for the adventure came to Kimberley while living in Italy. She wanted to emulate the intimate Italian wine bars she found so bellissimo. After 18 months, the custom-built, self-contained trailer – 6.5-metres long and weighing in at 3.2 tonnes – began popping up at places such as Lennox Gardens, Telopea Park, Haig Park and Bowen Park. “We try to stay for a couple of weeks at a time to make new friends,” says Kimberley.

Every millimetre of The Pop Inn has been carefully designed. When fully open, the trailer transforms into a bar with rows of wine glasses, bar fridges and a kitchenette. It’s no surprise it has won two architectural and design awards.

The Pop Inn sets up tables and chairs, offers picnic rugs and has warm blankets in winter. Everyone is welcome, even the pets.

The Pop Inn’s times and days vary, depending on location and weather, but the website is always up-to-date. The Pizza Trailer posts its whereabouts the same way.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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