By ARDEN BASTIA Shawn Finnigan works full time at Electric Boat, but he is branching out into the food business with his newest project: Hook n Ladder Pizza Company. Finnigan of Greenwood is in the process of converting a fire truck into a mobile pizza
Shawn Finnigan works full time at Electric Boat, but he is branching out into the food business with his newest project: Hook n Ladder Pizza Company.
Finnigan of Greenwood is in the process of converting a fire truck into a mobile pizza oven. He got the idea for the project after talking with coworkers.
“I had been listening to my coworkers discuss how hard of a year it had been with COVID and trying to get out and go eat at places with most restaurants closed down,” he said in an email. “I started to think about food trucks and if that would be a better solution for people to be able to get out more.”
Finnigan found himself at a food truck night, not too long after, watching families enjoying the food and music. “This got me thinking. How could I get more involved in the food truck business?”
Finnigan said the idea of “eating fresh brick oven pizzas [that came from] an actual fire truck” came to his mind and was “instantly excited.”
Finnigan dove right into his research, first by taking a food handlers and managers course. He said he also had help from others involved in the food truck business, and did a lot of reading “in order to gain as much knowledge as I could.”
After much search, he found the perfect truck, “for a good deal”, in North Haven, CT. The truck originally served the Quinnville Fire Department in Lincoln, RI. Finnigan bought the truck as a fully functional fire engine.
Since he was a kid, Finnigan has had an interest in restoring old cars. “I was looking forward to turning a fire truck into a food truck,” he said, mentioning that he enjoys a good challenge.
Finnigan walked through his remodeling plans. “After removing the 750-gallon holding tank, it will make room for my brick oven which will cook up to 3 pizzas at a time,” he explained. “This will also make room for my prep stations, as well as a fridge for cold beverages.” Finnigan plans to do all the prep work and cooking right on the truck.
Finnigan brought the truck home in early December, and along with his wife Melissa, decided to bring a little Christmas spirit to Warwick.
On Saturday, Dec. 19, Finnigan dressed the truck up in lights, garland, and wreaths. “We invited Santa, Mrs. Claus, and two elves (a family that lives in the neighborhood) to pass out candy canes, hot chocolate, and coloring books,” he said. Finnigan drove around the city, stopping to bring holiday cheer to children playing in the snow, nursing home residents and staff, and even making a surprise appearance at 8-year old Atticus Gomes’ birthday drive-by.
“To see them smiling like that after the year they had was more than moving. And then we realized how much joy it even brought to the adults that we passed by,” Finnigan said. “Honestly, just seeing the joy this truck has already brought to children in such a chaotic and sad year has been worth any penny.”
If everything goes as planned, Hook n Ladder Pizza will be serving fresh, Neapolitan and New York style brick oven pizzas by late spring 2021.