Red Tractor Pizza
Red Tractor Pizza is a community-oriented pizzeria that has been serving up delicious and creative pies, live music, and great beer since 2014. Locally sourced and thoughtfully chosen ingredients guarantee a quality meal, and gluten- and dairy-free options make this “Farm To Pizza” menu accessible to everyone. I sat down with founder and owner Adam Paccione to talk about the passion behind the pizza.
Elsa Russell: How was Red Tractor Pizza conceptualized?
Adam Paccione: A love for food, particularly pizza. I suppose a passion for gardening and growing things. A life’s journey, I guess. Yeah, it’s just a product of my environment. It’s just a little bit of everything I’ve learned to love throughout my whole life: cooking, food, gardening, music, community, friends, family, all mashed into one, and here we’ve got Red Tractor Pizza.
ER: And you’re a farm-to-table restaurant, right?
AP: Yeah, exactly. And that goes back to the conception of it and my love for growing things and gardening and farming, and then my love for food and cooking food for other folks, particularly pizza.
Farm To Pizza is what we’ve dubbed ourselves. We do the best job we can at purchasing as many local ingredients as possible. It works out really well for a million different reasons.
ER: Is there anything that kick started or inspired that?
AP: Like I said, it’s a product of my environment. My dad was the hunter, fisher, gatherer, gardener dude, and my mom was the vegetarian hippie. My dad was also the cook; he’s a chef too. He owned a restaurant. So, he taught me the importance of growing your own food and treating your food like you’d treat anything, meaning go organically and use good soil and use good products. And with my mom kind of having that healthier aspect of the food lifestyle, it was just a life of being brought up with that.
It was the only thing I’ve ever known, really. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with friends that I was like, “What’s fast food? What are TV dinners?”
So yeah, I don’t know any other way. That’s where it all stemmed from: Mom and Dad.
ER: What makes you unique in the Bozeman food scene?
AP: I would have to say the direct connection to so many suppliers, whether it be the farm that I’m getting my produce from, or the ranch that I buy my beef from, or the brewer that’s brewing my beer. I’ve made a point to become friends with all these folks and cut out the middle-man whenever possible. Yeah, that’s pretty unique, I would have to say.
ER: What do you want people to experience when they walk through your doors?
AP: Just a great time. From, you know, the server’s personality, the music, whenever that can start up again, obviously the great food, good drink, great beers. Simply put, just a great time, just to have smiles on their faces the whole time they’re here.
ER: I did see you host a lot of live music. I guess right now, maybe that’s difficult, but can you tell me more about that?
AP: That’s the culture of Red Tractor Pizza for sure. Live Music. Yeah, June is the plan, at the latest. Hopefully it can happen a little bit sooner; we did live music all last summer, some shows on the patio and others inside. We have good airflow in the summer, so that worked out pretty well; everyone stayed safe. So I think by June it will be good to go. Pre-Covid we were doing five to six nights of music a week. I keep that local too, you know, it’s all local musicians.
ER: What do your regulars keep coming back for?
AP: Music, beer, and pizza. Thursdays will be Bluegrass night with the Bridger Creek Boys, Friday is jazz night, Saturday is a few different bands, like punk rock, a little bit louder stuff, and Monday night is singer-songwriters. And each of those nights have their own regulars. And they’re all coming back for the food. I think within our regulars, they’re isolated to whatever style of music they prefer the most, and we see that within each night. We got our Bridger Creek Boy regulars, our Jazz night regulars, and so on and so forth. They’re all getting antsy for music, but it’s been great because they’ve supported us the whole time. We’ve continued to see them, even through the shutdown. When all this first started, they were still here doing take-out once a week. It was nice to be a part of.
ER: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?
AP: Lots of things. I guess just being a leader and leading by example. You can hire all of these local musicians, you can buy all of this local food, purchase all of this local beer, and pay your employees pretty decently, and still just be a pizzeria and still make it work.
If I had to say one thing, obviously being a leader in the food scene. That’s a cool thing about being part of the Bozeman community. You really saw it come together, I think, last summer with the Foothills Fire. Everyone had felt so separated at that time; there was all that political madness, going crazy, and clearly there’s a mix of plenty of different types of folks here in the valley, but when that happened it didn’t matter. Everyone came to everyone’s help instantly. It was just like, “All right. These are fellow community members. They need help. Let’s get it done.” So being a part of a community like that, I guess the small-town feel, it’s pretty cool. You know, we’re a decent-sized city, but it definitely has a small-town feel. And you see the same people everywhere. That’s kind of cool.
ER: Do you have anything coming up you’d like the readers to know about?
AP: Anything coming up? Music in June, full-bore. Hopefully June at the very latest. Yeah, once these dining room restrictions come off, we are going to get back to music five or six nights a week. So keep an eye out for that, readers!
ER: And finally, I have to ask, do you have a favorite menu item?
AP: That’s what everyone asks me. I mean, if I go to another pizzeria, let’s say, I’m going to order a plain cheese pizza. It’s the test of a true champion, right? You’ve got to get your dough and your sauce and your cheese right, and if not, why even go further than that? So I love just plain cheese pizza.
But right now, I hate to limit myself to favorites, but I’m enjoying the meatball parm very much. Yeah, it’s really good. It’s super simple, but really well thought out and it’s pretty awesome.
Next time you are hit with a pizza craving, head over to Red Tractor Pizza to try this meatball parm pizza (and others!) for yourself. And don’t be surprised if the lively and welcoming atmosphere and innovative menu turns you into a regular.