The conversion of a used and outdated school bus into a bright blue food truck with a wood fire pizza oven in the back was not just about the reconstruction of a vehicle, it was about making a dream come true. For 8 years, Ben worked to support someone else’s dream, and now his effort, dedication and innovation have been put to good use to create his own business, Hearth & Soul Pizza.
The idea to put a wood fire oven in the back of a school bus developed over years of contemplation and conversation with his wife Misha. Themes and ideas came and went, but the decision to use a school bus stuck around. Finding the perfect bus, however, did not come so easily. Three years of searching for the perfect vehicle proved to be worth the wait, when a bus turned up for sale a few hours away from their then home city of Denver, CO.
“We knew the moment we sat in the bus,
that it was meant to be ours.”
They both knew this was THE BUS they had been waiting and hoping for. After winning the bid at auction, the couple brought home their new project and began the adventure of a lifetime.
Through summer heat, winter snow and Colorado’s infamous spring snow dumps, the old county school bus began to turn into Miss Bella Bus.
The final step in the build was arguably the most important: the OVEN. With the help of neighbors, family and friends, Ben and Misha constructed a concrete, wood fire oven in the back of an old school bus, capable of reaching 800 degrees!
A week before the final pour of cement, Ben and Misha lost their beloved miniature Australian Shepherd, Bella. Abused, abandoned and blind in one eye, Bella came into the family as a lost pup just looking for a home to love her. Sweet, shy and loving, Bella was a part of the family for 15 amazing years. Three days before the final construction of the oven began, beautiful Miss Bella passed away. But her legacy will live on forever, not only in the hearts of those who knew her, but as a part of the Hearth & Soul Pizza Bus.
“We knew there was only one thing to name the bus. It had to be Bella. She’s been with us from the start of our relationship, through good times and bad. And now she will be with us into the future, as we make our dreams come true.”
The final leg of the journey for Bella Bus was the long trip from Denver, CO to Portland, OR. Ben and Misha have relocated to the Portland area, looking to begin their business with a fresh start. With all the beauty and excitement of the Pacific Northwest, Portland was the perfect place to begin a new life and a new journey together.
“We are SO EXCITED to be in Oregon, and to serve the Portland Community.
This truly is a dream come true!”