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Jerry Hart, co-owner of Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company, prepares the oven to begin baking apricot bread that the couple will sell at the food truck the next day. Jerry has to closely watch the temperature of the oven to make sure the bread goes in at the correct time to ensure optimum baking.

Love and pizza

story by Kendall Warner

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!'"

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Susan and Jerry Hart, owners of Rise & Roll Brick OVen Company, visit their daughter Katie's farm where they collect much of the firewood used to fuel the brick oven.

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Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company co-owner Jerry Hart prepares homemade chocolate chip cookies. Like all food that Rise & Roll sells, the cookies are baked in a mobile, 7,000-pound, wood-fired brick oven. Jerry and wife Susan feature several sweet treats on their menu because, simply, "everyone likes desserts," says Jerry, who is well versed in baking after working as a pastry chef in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Oliver Williams, 4, watches on with his mother, Brooklyn Williams, as Jerry Hart puts a pizza in the oven at the Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company food truck. Oliver was fascinated by the pizza making process, asking Jerry many questions like, "What is pesto?"

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Jerry Hart works on a pizza while his wife, Susan, take orders at their Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company. food truck "I keep my head down and make the pizza while Susan deals with the customers," says Jerry.

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Jerry Hart, co-owner of Rise & roll Brick Oven Company, lays pepperoni on a pizza for a customer. The pepperonis are one of the few things the couple doesn't make or grow themselves.

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Jerry Hart. co-owner of Rise & Roll Brick OVen Company, stretches out dough to begin making a pizza for a customer. He and wife Susan pride themselves on good food, fresh ingredients, and quality customer service to produce a product as fast as they can.

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While Jerry Hart works on preparing food to go in the oven at the Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company, Susan steps over to take a pizza out. The couple has always worked well together. "We met in a restaurant working together," says Jerry, "so that was the dynamic all along."

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Susan Hart greets Jane Hearn, a regular at the Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company. Jane has been coming to the food truck since May and says, "I always get the same thing – the pepperoni pizza bomber – and I like to add pesto." Since opening in March, Susan and Jerry notice they have many regular, loyal customers who are all sad about this being the couples' last day until spring.

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Susan and Jerry Hart, owners of Rise & Roll Brick Oven Company, crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate their final business day of the season. In preparation for the last day, the couple prepared 90 doughs that they sold out of in a record time – just under four hours. All together for the season, which ran from March to the end of October, the couple sold 4,571 pizzas.