Pizza has been a part of Jerry and Susan Hart's lives almost since the beginning of their 34-year marriage. Jerry built their first brick oven in the backyard of their home in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the couple began making pizzas for a variety of personal occasions including birthday parties and family reunions.
Jerry is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He was a pastry chef prior to joining Procter & Gamble as its dining facilities manager. He stayed for 17 years. When he retired in 2015 the couple moved to Morehead to be closer to their daughter, Katie, who owns a 32-acre horse farm.
"Once we were settled and everything, it was like, 'I want to go back and cook,'" says Jerry. He spent six months building a 7,000-pound, wood-burning brick oven then figured out how to secure it on a trailer. In March of 2017, Rise & Roll Brick Oven company was born.
"When we decided to go and do this I was so excited," says Susan, who spent many years working on a dinner train. "I was like well, this is a piece of cake."
The business is a family affair. Jerry and Susan get a majority of the massive amount of wood needed to fuel the brick oven from Katie's property. Most of their ingredients come from the couple's plot at the community garden. Everything is homemade. They spend hours before opening making breads and doughs and cutting up ingredients. Their oldest daughter, Rebecca, lives in San Francisco and runs all of Rise & Roll's social media accounts. She's the creator of the menu and logo and is working on building the company's website.
"[Rebecca] loves her job," says Susan, "but she always says, 'I have more fun doing your job.'"
At the end of the day, Jerry's and Susan's love for each other and their good food and quality customer service make their business thrive.
"People always ask us," says Jerry, 'Well, are you sick of pizza?'" The couple answers in unison: "'Well, no!'"