The other day I joined friends for lunch at a restaurant named Fire, located in downtown Great Falls. We assumed that Fire was named for the wood-fired method of cooking pizza and then it started a discussion among us.
One of my lunch buddies owns a restaurant and tavern, and another is a kitchen designer. The restaurant owner said she had often thought a wood fired oven would be a fun addition to her restaurant. The kitchen designer commented that some are merely for the “look” of a wood fired oven and they are really fueled by gas.
Our food arrived and we dove right in, almost forgetting about whether it really was pizza cooked in a wood fired oven. Not a bite remained when we stopped eating – a good testament to the food! We visited a bit more and as we were getting ready to leave I saw an odd thing coming in from the back door of the restaurant.
One of the employees was carefully wheeling in a metal cart and it was loaded with wood. Aha! The wood fired deal is for real…and the heat from it makes a mighty fine pizza!
I asked if I could take a photo of the wood and, after some curious looks and a bit of explanation, they said of course.
The staff told me they use apple wood and cherry wood from Washington state to fuel the oven. I know woods can give off a different scent when burning so it could be that, or it could be the intensity or denseness of the wood that is best for cooking pizza. No matter what, my pizza was awesome and my generous salad was superb.
If you go at noon, I recommend the lunch special – a choice of salad (spinach with gorgonzola or a Mediterranean salad with creamy garlic dressing) and a small pizza. We joked that I always get the same menu item but I guess I’ve found what I like and I’ll stick with it.
The dinner menu has some enticing appetizers – mushrooms, cured olives, meatballs (Thai or BBQ) and a soup that changes seasonally. And, for those of us who feel we need a bit of sweetness to end our meal, a bittersweet chocolate chip cookie with gray salt and vanilla bean ice cream could easily find it’s way to the table.
Fire is located at 107 5th Street North in Great Falls, Montana and their phone is 406-952-1007. Their food is all made in-house, from scratch. And for a beverage you can order a craft beer or glass of wine.