Pizza Del Popolo Blows Up the Food Truck

For something that’s changed the way Americans eat, food trucks haven’t evolved very much. The basic panel truck rules, just like it did when taco entrepreneurs in LA rolled out the first loncheras in the 1970s. But one entrepreneur has a different idea. Jon Darsky and designer Michael Hyde had a freight container fitted with huge windows, a wood-burning oven from Naples, and a prep kitchen, then hitched it to a semi cab, and last spring unveiled Darsky's towering Pizza Del Popolo truck in San Francisco.

Since Darsky (below right, with Jon Barba) was the opening pizza-maker at San Francisco’s Flour + Water, the pizzas that emerge from the on-board oven have the leopard spotting and ingredient pedigree you’d expect. But for people gathering in front of Pizza Del Popolo one evening last week on a South of Market street, even if they’d seen pictures of Darsky’s truck, the sheer hugeness of the thing was unexpected. "It’s like something from fabled American industry back in the day,” somebody said. Still, with toppings like kale and wild boar salami, Darsky’s pizzas are strictly of the moment.

Photos by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com

John Birdsall is senior editor at CHOW. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow CHOW, too, and become a fan on Facebook.