There's a New Pie in Town! Introducing Red Wagon Pizza Co.

I first met Pizza Pete (a.k.a Peter Campbell) before our school's fundraiser on a balmy night this past February. I was in charge of the bar (no small feat for this particular fun-lovin' SW Minneapolis Catholic school) and Pete was in charge of . . . you guessed it, the pizza. Hours before the event, I was putting the kegs on ice and stacking bottles of wine and I could smell the woody smoke filtering into the gym. The smell of burning wood is evocative of so many good things, it seemed impossible to imagine a better welcome for all the parents coming to love up our school.

Every party has a shape, an almost visible swell as the hours go by and the beers go down. The live auction was over, the band had started up, high heels were being kicked off, and those first intrepid dance-starved moms shimmied out onto the dance floor. What? Me? Pizza Pete cooked through it all with his team of family members (including two who had flown in from New York), providing delicious and sorely needed sustenance for all the hungry revelers. What? Me? 

The night started to spin like a top, music and laughter spilled out of the gym doors and every once in a while you'd catch a whiff of smoke - a reminder that just over there, in the back corner of the gym and outside by the pizza oven, was a party within a party. A pizza party. My theory is that people are drawn to fire. And if there also happens to be a warm winter's night sky, a secret stash of Surly, unique and amazing pizza and a dude who loves to talk about the thing he loves to do, well, then it becomes downright irresistible. 

I saw Pete at the end of the night. He'd been cooking for over 14 hours and it showed. His eyes were red from the smoke and he was slumped in a chair out of sheer exhaustion, but the grin on his face was a mile wide. 

It had been a good night for Pizza Pete. And us too.

How did you become Pizza Pete?

I have been Pizza Pete for as long as I can remember; I threw my first dough at age 2. Most friends usually start calling me Pizza Pete after they have attended one of my family’s weekly pizza nights. It just stuck!

What's your mission for Red Wagon Pizza? 

Red Wagon Pizza Co. is bound and determined to bring a healthy American pizza to the tables of this community. 

I do subscribe to the most traditional type of oven, wood-fired pizza, but I do not subscribe to any of the typical geographical definitions of pizza. I am not Neapolitan, I am not Chicago, NY, New Haven, California, Wisconsin or Boston. 

I create a healthier pizza by using a crust that contains more nutritional value than your typical double zero rate flour from Naples. I use high quality ingredients and let the flavor combinations speak for themselves without overdoing it. That way I can achieve an improved flavor spectrum without additional caloric fillers. By focusing on local organic farms for my flour and sourcing the rest of my creations from farmers markets and co-ops, when possible, I keep the element of community in my pizza moments. A pizza should not have 2 lbs of cheese on it with a crust drenched in butter. 

Hear! Hear! Where did you get that cool oven?

I sit on the board of Sunrise Flour Mill and if you ask them my official title they will say, "Mill Boy"! Darrold and Marty Glanville own Sunrise Flour Mill and they have created a pizza flour that will have any double zero flour running for the hills. Darrold started out as an artisan bread enthusiast and immersed himself in the art of bread years ago. Darrold has been trained on the North Shore of MN to build Alan Scott ovens. By applying similar tenets of oven building, Darrold created the pizza oven I have been using at many charity events. Due to inevitable capacity issues, I’ve decided to invest in a bigger oven. My new oven will debut in early June at the Linden Hills Farmers Market.

Describe what you do to prepare when you roll up to make pizzas somewhere.

Whether it's a private party at someone’s home or making pizzas for 300 people at a fundraiser, the same is always necessary: preparation and research. I am certain that any caterer would agree that understanding exactly what each client wants, asking all the questions early, and most importantly listening to the answers will help in executing a flawless event. This notion may seem obvious, however, smart preparation always saves time and money. Without tilting my playbook too much, I like to focus on what type of pizzas my clients want or what I think will sell based on the climate, what’s in season and the time of day I am serving. I typically start the fire about 2 hours before cooking the first pizza and I use 2 year aged local red oak.

SGT readers like local. Tell them about that tomato thing you were telling me about. And the flour. 

This can’t be a new idea, however, I really like the concept of partnering with a local farmer to purchase a specific amount of their tomato yield for the season and jar the sauce after I have worked my magic. If I know I am going to rely on a specific ingredient from a farmer, why not partner in some way? Collaborating with local growers is a must in my path to healthier pizza. My first step in this endeavor was to foster a strong relationship with Sunrise Flour Mill (North Branch, MN). They supply the flour used to create my pizza dough and it’s amazing. 

What's your favorite pizza that you make? What's your most popular?

I have two favorites, the simple pepperoni pizza and my pizza named the Montague (a.k.a. Monty). I love the pepperoni not only because it’s one of my favorites to eat (it is) but more because it's fun to build. My Pop-Pop taught me how to build the perfect pepperoni pizza. 

The Montague is also a fan favorite. I finalized the recipe for the Montague when a close friend was over with his family and I named it after him. It has red sauce, shredded mozzarella, sopressata, sausage and banana peppers. This was the same evening that I decided to pursue Red Wagon Pizza Co as a business. I also love making it because my brother has a very similar pizza, only his has olives and no sopressata, I think he wishes it were called the Ryan.

I polled attendees of an event I did a few months back and learned that they love my unique creations (e.g., the Montague or pear, gorgonzola & walnut), but when they order out on a weekly basis they generally stick to pepperoni. 

What is your dream for Red Wagon Pizza this summer?

To make a lasting impact on how my community interacts with pizza. Let’s set the bar high and ask ourselves do we need a 500-calorie slice? Quintessential pizza moments happen all the time - we connect with our friends and families, whether it be a weeknight dinner, the weekly poker game or on family movie night. Huddling around a pizza is a community moment and what better venue to make my statement to the community than at the Linden Hills Farmers Market? 

How can folks get in touch with you if they want a little of that Pizza Pete magic?

You can find me at the Linden Hills Farmers Market every Sunday in the Settergren's parking lot from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30  p.m. or I can be reached by email at or by phone at 612-968-4763. You can also join my Facebook fan page here.



Gabriela Lambert is a frequent contributor to Simple, Good and Tasty. You can also read more of her writing on her blog You can read more of her work for SGT here.