Southfield (CW50) - The idea behind Captain's Wööd Fired Pies started in 2018 while the Captain himself, Nick Mannisto, was working as a pizza chef, a skill he picked up when a friend of his was in need of someone who could fill the position at a brewery in Lansing. This sparked his venture into the food truck world, which truly began in 2020 when he emptied his lifesavings to purchase a trailer and build a pizza oven inside of it.
Nick Mannisto, Owner of Captain's Wood Fired Pies, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about his experience opening up a food truck during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his charitable work through the truck.
"I bought the food truck during the pandemic. Took all my lifesavings out and it turned out pretty good, cooking just good vibes and pies."
Taking a massive risk by opening up a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mannisto was confident that his pizza was good enough to drive locals in the cities surrounding his hometown of Howell to his truck. The truck's main areas of operation include the Howell Farmers Market, as well as the city's neighborhoods. Business boomed in 2021 as the more people began to feel more comfortable with leaving their homes to eat. Mannisto's truck has been so busy in fact, that Captain's Wööd Fired Pies has been booked through November.
"I was confident... I was running into the storm... I just wanted to take a risk and it's doing well right now."
You can find out the upcoming locations of the truck on their Facebook page: Captain's Wööd Fired Pies.
Mannisto has plans to create his own community garden, where all of the ingredients that go into making the pizza will be grown. For now, he encourages his customers to bring their own grown produce or produce from their local farmer's markets to be topped on the pizza, as to highlight locally grown produce.
"I try to support all of the local farmers and gardeners at the Howell market or whatever market we go to, featuring their specific produce."
Alongside his truck, Mannisto also does an increasing amount of charitable work, including collecting toys for Toy-For-Tots and donating proceeds to charities like The Rainbow Connection, a local organization that makes wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Mannisto calls this branch of his business "the pie that gives a slice back," which he one day hopes to turn into his own non-profit.
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