We caught up with Sarah Marolf and Rusty Bolt, owners of Full Moon Pizza in Petoskey (formerly Pizzadoughsio—the rebranded truck opened in The Back Lot in May), to hear about what brought them to the food truck biz and what goes into making their delicious wood-fired pies. Sarah and Rusty purchased the truck from Tyler Kenifeck—a childhood friend of Rusty’s and owner of Cheese & Co. across the lot—and already feel right at home.
Are two from the area? Do you both have backgrounds in food service?
Rusty is from Ellsworth, and I was born and raised in Traverse City. Rusty has a strong background in food service, having bartended and served at a number of restaurants in the area. I’m just a self-proclaimed “foodie” with a strong sales background and some food service experience sprinkled in my past. I also diligently and proudly manage all of the marketing, secretarial and technical support for Full Moon, usually after a long day of making pizzas at the stand. Rusty loves working the oven and helping customers. Food service comes naturally to us, as we both pride ourselves in our natural abilities to get along with just about anyone.
What drove you to get into the food truck business? And why pizza?
The idea of being given the opportunity to “be our own bosses,” so to speak, drove us to take over this business. Pizza fits right in at The Back Lot, because who doesn’t love pizza and beer, am I right? They go hand-in-hand, and with the pizza truck being mobile and so many locations offering alcohol, it just made sense.
How did you come up with your menu and recipes?
We kept the menu almost exactly the same from the previous year, with the exception of a couple of minor changes and additions, as we knew customers would return this summer looking for many of the same combinations. We added a new pizza called “The Mahalo” with BBQ sauce, red onion, shredded chicken and our five-cheese blend, as well as a wood-fired brownie. We’re looking into moving forward with more unique and interesting combos featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables because Rusty’s family owns Bolt’s Farm in Ellsworth, where we would readily have access to local ingredients. I’ll let you in on one secret ingredient we might be using soon: strawberries!
What have you enjoyed most about running Full Moon Pizza?
I’ve enjoyed the general uplifting and positive atmosphere at The Back Lot, as well as our loyal and loving customers and employees here in Petoskey. It’s great to feel as appreciated as we do by The Back Lot staff and to get to work alongside friends. I also love that there’s a DJ who comes out on the weekends, as I’m a huge music fan. We do a lot of dancing in the back while we make pizzas on those days!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am just so glad I moved to Petoskey. I feel like after I acquired this business with Rusty, everything started to fall into place, as far as stability and overall well-being goes. I couldn’t be happier; I am finally aligning my identity with my job and dreams.
The entire staff at The Back Lot is filled with warm, welcoming and genuine people. They welcomed us in with open arms and have been there to guide us at every turn. Tyler (the owner of Cheese & Co.) has firmly been our rock. He has not only helped me reshape my future, but also is always just a phone call away, whether we need sound advice or just a listening ear.
Rusty and I make a great team, and while each day is not always perfect, we try our best to communicate lovingly and respectfully if we have issues to resolve. We are so grateful to be a part of The Back Lot community and members of the Petoskey community. This will undoubtedly be the first of many great summers for Full Moon Pizza.