Peace of Pie will make anything

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Ashli and Lola Chavez rolled into town in their converted Snap-on tool truck for a visit. In short order, the cooks decided to stay and run their gourmet food-on-wheels business, Peace of Pie.

It’s hard to miss the brightly painted truck, with its reds, yellows and greens, peace symbols and “Follow the Peace — Contact Us” hand-painted on the back doors. It has been parked next to Lady Hawk Feed and Supply on South Main Street in Belen, but beginning in September, it will be a few blocks north, in the parking lot next to Pizza Hut.

Janis Marston-News-Bulletin photo: PEACE OF PIE OWNERS Lola and Ashli Chavez stand in front of their brightly painted food truck, regularly parked on Main Street in Belen.

A bright orange umbrella offers shade for the small table with four chairs; bar stools next to a bright yellow counter built into the truck’s side allow for a little more seating.

Lola Chavez, 21, who grew up in Belen until third grade, suggested they visit her cousin here and take a break from the big city ways of Seattle, Wash. That was in June.

“We like it here. It’s a good place,” Ashli Chavez says, adding she quickly noticed the lack of places serving gourmet food.

In her Bob Marley gimme cap and Rastafarian tee shirt, Ashli, 29, says she and Lola, live the lifestyle made famous by the late Jamaican reggae singer.

“You get what you give,” Ashli says. “That’s the Rasta’ lifestyle.”

That’s also how they run Peace of Pie.

Partners for three years, the women only serve fresh ingredients and serve organic food as much as possible.

“Nothing’s canned or frozen. Everything’s fresh,” Ashli says, noting how they buy their flour from Naples, Italy.

“The only thing we don’t make ourselves are the hot dogs. But we only buy 100 percent meat franks,” she says.

“It’s a lot more than food for us,” she explains. “I’ve been wanting this my whole life.”

Born in Continental Divide, N.M., Ashli moved to Seattle at age 15. A massage therapist at first, she realized her passion was food.

“I went to any top-dollar bistro and cafe that I could,” she says. “I wanted to learn how to cook the culinary way.”

Besides the food truck’s menu items, such as calzones, chicken wings and a variety of sandwiches, they can cook Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese, if someone calls a day in advance. They even cook Hawaiian food, including the luau-style pig in a pit.

Ashli chats away with a customer as she hand-tosses the dough for their New York-style pizzas, the food truck’s specialty.

Ashli was working as a pizza-delivery girl in 2004 when she got the tool truck and started outfitting it with stainless-steel appliances and track lighting.

Once the insides were done, and after she met Lola, the women turned to decorating the outside before they were ready to open Peace of Pie three years ago.

“We like to give people a personal experience,” Ashli says as the wad of dough flattens and grows into a pizza-sized crust. “We like talking to people and getting them to enjoy our food.

“It’s the food that’s important, not the money,” she continues. “And being happy. We’re happy and that shows.”

She says referrals are their biggest customer base, just like the couple waiting for a pizza. They were sent to the food truck by the man who runs a nearby bakery.

“We know people by name, by their orders,” she adds.

For instance, she tells about one repeat customer who came to the service window.

“I want my dog,” the woman said. “And we know exactly what she wants and what to put on her hot dog.”

They eventually would like to open a sit-down gourmet restaurant in a building.

They are open for business from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, except when they drive to special events, such as fairs.

If you have the urge for New York-style pizza, call 459-1654 to find out where their truck will be.