It all started with a pizza-loving family looking to pay for college and a truck purchased on eBay. That’s how Molly Hall and her family got into the restaurant business. But ending up with one of Midtown’s most popular restaurants, The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen, wasn’t even on their radar in the beginning.
The Hall’s pizza operation began as a Saturday night tradition at home. “My family started making pizza when I was 5 years old. We would sit down on the living room floor and spread out a blanket and my dad would make pizza, and it just kind of become what we did on Saturday nights,” Elise Hall recalled. Over time, the tradition grew to include more family and friends and, of course, more pizza.
What If We Started a Food Truck?
The idea for the truck started when Molly was a freshman in college, unsure how to pay her tuition. Originally, she thought she might get a job in retail. Her father, Lorne Hall, had a better idea. “What if we started a food truck?” Before long, the family purchased a utility truck on eBay and had a friend build it out with a wood-fired oven and kitchen. The truck opened that summer, in 2013.
It wasn’t long before they were participating in the largest food truck events in the city, including Oklahoma City’s popular H&8th Night Market. The first H&8th took place in 2011 with three food trucks and roughly 200 people. Over the next 3 years, it became the largest monthly food truck festival in the U.S. based on attendance, up to 40,000 people each month in 2014. Today, H&8th takes place once a year during the OKC Pro-Am Classic and continues to draw crowds eager to sample the best in the city’s food truck scene.
H&8th played a big role in the Hall’s success. “The reason food trucks took off the way they did was because of H&8th. I think it was so good for Oklahoma City and still is.” Molly Hall said of the event.
H&8th also served as a learning opportunity. “H&8th was a crazy amount of people. Figuring out how to serve them consistently with a wood-fired oven was really challenging,” Molly recalled. In many ways it helped prepare them for success.
From Truck to Table
When Molly’s college tuition was paid in full, the family got together to decide what to do next. Although opening a restaurant was never the original plan, they realized they wanted to create a welcoming place for their customers beyond the truck. “We wanted it to feel like walking into our house,” Elise said.
A full-blown restaurant presented new challenges, but their experience owning and operating a food truck served them well. “We already had a product, a brand, and a following,” Molly added. They opened for business in May 2017 in the heart of Midtown and haven’t looked back.
Going from pizza on the living room floor, to a food truck and now one of OKC’s top restaurants, the Halls Pizza Kitchen is almost always bustling with customers looking for a taste of that Saturday night tradition full of family, friends, and pizza.
Truck to Table is a series highlighting the growth and development of Oklahoma City food trucks and how many have opened brick-and-mortar locations. The Tasty Escape is partnering with Visit OKC to showcase the success stories for some of OKC’s most popular “truck to table” restaurants.