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Wood-Fired Wonders

Wood-Fired Wonders

You may have seen Manzo’s Wood-Fired Pizza around Columbia. However, it isn’t a brick and mortar pizza place that you drive by on your commute home from work.

Rather, Manzo’s might drive by YOU.  A completely unique concept to Columbia, MO, Manzo’s Wood-Fired Pizza is a food truck that houses an imported Italian pizza oven that heats up to over 750 degrees. The oven makes fresh, unique pizza creations come to life four days a week.

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Started in 2016 by Aaron Saeler and Aaron Jurgensmeyer, Manzo’s, the Italian word for beef, also happens to be Aaron Jurgensmeyer’s nickname.

Their hard work is what really brought them to where they are today. Aaron Saeler attended culinary school in Scottsdale, AZ and San Francisco, CA. He worked as a chef and restaurant owner over the years. However, his background in culinary training was French and Italian-oriented, and none of the restaurants were ever completely focused on pizza. Starting Manzo’s was a dream different from what he was used to and took lots of trial and error test runs.

He experimented with pizza recipes for friends and family in the oven and on the grill. Although the art of tossing pizza dough in the kitchen at home often left his wife frustrated, he stayed dedicated.The result left Saeler with the perfect recipe for a crust that is thin and doughy on the inside but puffy and crispy on the outside.

The pizza pie is prepared using a sourdough base, and there is a gluten-free option as well.  Each pizza is hand-tossed and baked in the oven for a maximum of 5 minutes until it turns golden brown. The bottom of the crust is not your typical greasy chain pizza. Saeler says, there is a “hint of smokiness and if you search for it, you’ll get it.” White oak wood, sourced from Missouri, gives off the neutral smoky flavor.

Saeler’s creations are an art and the flavors are unusual, but tasty. While pepperoni is always a popular pick, a current favorite is the “Voodoo."

“We have a voodoo rub which is a collaboration from both Aarons. Jurgensmeyer brought the rub originally, I have changed it a little bit,” says Saeler. “Then I make a voodoo cream sauce and then it's roasted jalapenos on top of that and onions with this chicken that is’s awesome. So it's one of those things that is unique and I like to try to do something that nobody else is going to do.”

For us here at Savor Columbia, he whipped up a delicious, pizza on the fly that included roasted jalapeños, onions, pepperoni, mushrooms and bacon. Together, we named it the “Savor-y Columbia.”

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Saeler has been told his pizza creations are the best by locals, New Yorkers and even people from across the pond in Great Britain.

His experiences in the culinary industry have taught him that, “It's not all about the's about the love of doing it, and when I see people come back and give me a thumbs up, that's great, I feel great for the rest of the day...and that's what I want to see.”

Keeping customers happy from the first bite is important to the guys at Manzo’s. Whether they know you on a first-name basis or you happen to pass by the truck again and sing their praises, they will reply with a, “Didn't I tell ya it’s the best damn pizza in Columbia?”

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