Jen Morales and Phoebe Reckseit are the girls behind Pizza Girls in downtown West Palm Beach. They have owned and operated the popular pizza spot on Clematis Street since 1996 and were named New Times Broward/Palm Beach Best Pizza in 2001.
Recently, the girls have branched out from their brick-and-mortar location in happening downtown WPB and gone mobile with a food truck -- well, trailer -- of their very own, Ices & Slices.
They started with the trailer about a year and half ago.
"We've been doing events for our whole existence, since 1996," says Morales. "We have these portable ovens that we would bring and set up a tent and a banner and little ice cart. So then we just decided we should do a trailer, which works out better for us because we have real deck ovens. They're not like conveyor belt or anything; they're the same ovens we have in our store."
Recently, they hooked up with the roving group Food Truck Invasion that hosts monthly and weekly food truck meetups across all of South Florida -- from Miami-Dade to the Treasure Coast.
"So far, we have done Royal Palm Beach, we've done Stuart, we've done West Palm Beach, all over," says Morales. "Tomorrow we're doing Wellington -- it's our first time doing that one -- and then Royal Palm on Friday."
As the food truck scene in South Florida has grown wildly popular, there's been some occasional friction between traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants and the nimble food trucks. In some cases, the restaurants have started food trucks of their own. And lately, some trucks have even opened brick-and-mortar locations, like B.C. Tacos' own B.C. Cafe in Davie.
For the Pizza Girls, however, there's no conflict. They are enjoying their newfound mobility, but they have no intention of pulling up roots either.
"It's been really great for us because, as we're going into a slower time at the store, we're picking up more business with this," says Morales. "It takes us into new neighborhoods, and we meet new customers. It's nice to be able to go out and talk to new people and then in turn bring them back to Clematis Street."
As much as she loves finding new customers, what touches Morales the most are the familiar faces.
"What's really cool is, we'll be up in Stuart and we'll have customers who live there come up to us," says Morales. "It's so far away, so it's cool to find out we have customers there. Clematis Street gets to see a large group of people, from all over, but still, I just never even considered I'd have a customer base out in Stuart or an hour away. It has been very gratifying for us. It's a lot of fun."
The selection of pizzas on the truck is slightly limited compared to the menu back home on Clematis -- purely a side effect of less space. Still, they manage to include some of their best sellers, like the New Yorker (portabello mushroom, roasted red peppers, spinach, red onion, and toasted goat cheese) and the Soho (artichoke hearts, fresh tomato, and Gorgonzola cheese).
And then, of course, there's the ice in Ices & Slices -- flavored Italian ices that sell extra well in the steamy South Florida summer.