Fire Artisan Pizza
It's All About The Fire
by Angie Ripple
In the spring of 2018, the former space of Gallatin Valley Furniture and Artcraft Printers at 303 E Main St. in downtown Bozeman was gutted so that Fire Pizza’s owner Doug Johnson could construct his vision for his third pizza location. With unique pizza creations, flavor combinations and brick oven-baked perfection, Fire Artisan Pizza is quickly rising to the top of the pizza food chain in the Bozeman food scene.
General Manager and Livingston native Rachel Lowndes leads the crew at Fire Pizza and took time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.
Angie Ripple: How was Fire Pizza conceptualized?
Rachel Lowndes: Fire Pizza started nine years ago. Doug Johnson was the founder and he had the idea and made the restaurant, and it was a very big success in Coeur d’Alene. Then, they opened up in Great Falls a couple of years ago and it’s doing well, and then they decided to hit the Bozeman market. Doug likes the old feel, keeping everything super simple and clean, and it’s turned out really nice in here. There’s a rustic feel, but it leans more towards new-age modern; it’s a nice mix. Then with good, home-cooked food, it’s everything in-house from scratch, we make everything right here, and that on top of everything makes it just right.
AR: What makes Fire Pizza unique in the Bozeman Food Scene? What do you do that other places don’t?
RL: Definitely the wood-fired oven. There are a couple others popping up, but this oven is very unique. It’s Italian made, it runs anywhere from 700-900 degrees, and it’s awesome. We can cook a pizza in four minutes and get it cooked all the way through. We can cook eggs in there, we cook skewers, tortillas and chocolate chip cookies; it’s a crazy oven that can cook anything. It was brought in in pieces, and then the stone workers put it together. It took three days to cure it just keeping it at a low constant temperature, lots of late nights, but worth it because it does wonders.
AR: What do you want people to experience when they walk through your doors?
RL: I want them to feel welcome when they walk in here, just smiles on everybody’s faces and have a good experience not only food-wise, but service-wise as well. We’ve got a really good service staff here; everybody knows their stuff and is super friendly. We want our guest to have an experience here, and not just dinner.
AR: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?
RL: Everybody here is just really awesome honestly. Whether it’s fellow business managers, owners, city commissioners, or people on the street, everybody is just really friendly and willing to help. Any questions that I have as a newer manager they are willing to answer and help me out. It’s a really close-knit community where everyone is there for everyone else. When I’m not here I like to go hiking, camping, going on the river, lots of softball in the summertime, just getting outside.
AR: What is your most popular dish, or what do your regulars keep coming back for?
RL: Definitely I’d say the Thai Pizza. It’s a great mixture of flavors; its got a cashew sauté, Serano peppers so it’s got a real heavy kick to it in the spice department, with cilantro and sriracha on the finish. It’s a really nice spicy, but balanced pizza and that’s one that everybody really likes and comes back for over and over. For folks who aren’t super into spice, The Gordy is also a really popular pizza. It’s something I would never choose to put on a pizza and it was hard for me to try my first bite, but now it’s my favorite. It’s got Gorgonzola cheese, with mozzarella, dates, and a balsamic reduction after it’s cooked and it’s fantastic.
AR: Do you have anything coming up that you want the readers to know about?
RL: Every day our lunch specials are great. We’ve got sandwiches, we’ve got 1/2 pizza specials for a lighter appetite, and we’ve got Sunday brunch from 11-3. We do a couple specialty breakfast pizzas, an apple cinnamon monkey bread, avocado toast and bottomless mimosas for $9, so that’s a really good deal and it’s really good food. We also have a banquet room in the back, its called the Yellowstone Room, that we’ve recently opened up in the last couple months. It can hold parties up to 30 whether it’s just a big dinner or a conference or meeting, or if you just need a bigger space for family coming in to town, it’s a really nice room.
If you love pizza you’ve got to get to Fire! Large black and white prints cover the old brick walls, tealight candles flicker throughout, and the fire in the back completes the environment.