Introducing Our New Specialty Pizza: The Cyclone

July 14th, 2017 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “Introducing Our New Specialty Pizza: The Cyclone”

Named after the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, IA (the site of our first franchise location), we created the Cyclone to be our “hot” pizza.  From what our Guests have told us, it does not disappoint!

What makes it’s hot? It’s our Smokin’ Hot Sauce, which is a ghost pepper sauce.  For those that know ghost pepper, a few drops will go a long way.  We help to cut through the heat with some fresh Hawaiian pineapple that is put on after the pizza is taken out of the wood-fired oven.

The Cyclone has crushed tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, jalapenos, fresh Hawaiian pineapple, crushed red pepper and Smokin’ hot sauce.  Another great example of the uniqueness of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza, one of the hottest fast casual wood fired pizza franchises around!



July 3rd, 2017 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “AMES STORE PARTNERS WITH BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF STORY COUNTY”

Ames, Iowa – June 26, 2017 – Kids in the Ames community will receive additional support from the newest restaurant in Ames. Last week, Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza announced an official partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Story County to support the local non-profit in its mission to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

“Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza believes that these fresh and healthy ingredients are fundamental to shaping a healthy life for young people,” said Todd Rognes, President of Campustown Hospitality Group, LLC, the Franchisee for Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza in Ames. “Boys & Girls Club of Story County shares many of the same values, and we want to help in a meaningful way.”


As part of the alliance, Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza staff will volunteer with the non-profit organization and teach kids to cook. The restaurant will also sponsor events and donate pizza.

“We are delighted to have a new supporter of Story County children,” said Erika Peterson, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Story County. “When businesses actively help us, the entire community benefits.”

Rognes and Peterson recently announced the partnership at a pre-opening VIP event last week at the restaurant.

Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza will officially open its doors at 2420 Lincoln Way on Thursday, June 29, offering free pizza to all guests from 10:30a.m. until 10:00p.m. that day.

The nearly 2,800 square foot restaurant will seat more than 80 guests directly across from the Iowa State University campus.



May 4th, 2017 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “WOOD-FIRED PIZZA PLACE’S FIRST LOCATION TO BE IN AMES”

If you’ve walked the stretch of Lincoln Way across from Lake Laverne this past year, you may have noticed a few new restaurants – especially if there is a line from one all the way to Starbucks.

Smokin' Oak
Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza at 2420 Lincoln Way.

Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza at 2420 Lincoln Way will be the next pizza stop to open up along that block, with plans to open at the end of June. In preparation, Smokin’ Oak will have walk-in interviews through May 13 for part-time and full-time employees, with or without restaurant experience.

Positions include tablestaff, pizza preparers, oven operators, cashiers and cooks. The wood-fired pizza restaurant is also looking for part-time and full-time assistant managers and will cross-train its team members for future career growth, according to a release from the restaurant. Training will begin May 30 for employees.

Smokin’ Oaks’ CEO Matt Mongoven, after living in London for eight years, met up with his lifelong friend Linda, who had opened Pi Wood-fired Pizza in Rochester, Minnesota. The two friends partnered together to franchise her restaurant under Smokin’ Oak Wood-fired Pizza. The two restaurants have a lot in common: a fast casual setup, a shared menu and locations near big universities.

Campustown Hospitality Group, LLC is responsible for bringing Smokin’ Oak’s first location to Ames, Iowa.

At the Lincoln Way location, customers will enter the restaurant and queue to the right, watching pizza preparation behind the counter and perusing the menu while they wait to order at the cashier. They then move on to drinks and choosing a table. The restaurant will seat around 80 people.

“We have fourteen specialty pizzas,” Mongoven said. “We have a build-your-own option, but it’s not a ‘start here and say ‘I want mozzerella’ [ordering process].”

One of the specialty pizzas is a Cyclone pizza, with jalepenos, red peppers and pineapple included in the ingredients. The CEO said the restaurant hopes to be integrated into the community, mentioning game day specials and mounted TVs, along with their menu of draft beer and pizza, to pull in the game-day crowd.

Wood-fired pizza

“Our whole mantra is we’re smokin-fast and smokin-fresh. We’re fast in that we make your pizza in 90 seconds,” Mongoven said. “In terms of freshness, we take that to the ‘nth’ degree. We don’t have a freezer in our restaurant.”

Food preparation occurs daily in the restaurant. Employees will make the pizza dough and tomato sauce, hand-chop vegetables throughout the day as needed and roast meats in the oven in the morning.

“Really nothing comes out of a bag. We do as much as we can in front of the customer,” Mongoven said.

Smokin’ Oak can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. Snapchat users will be able to watch the grand opening at the end of June.


Open Interview Times for Smokin’ Oak

Interviews will be:

Monday, May 1 – Thursday May 4, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday, May 5, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Monday, May 8 – Thursday, May 11, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday, May 12, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 13, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Applicants can bring a résumé for an immediate interview onsite or apply online at

Fast Facts on Smokin’ Oak

Opening date: End of June

Atmosphere: Fast casual, with seating for 80

Menu: salads, cheese breads, specialty and build-your-own thin-crust pizzas, draft beer and wine

Fun fact: General Manager Brian Ladd is an alum

smokin oak ames


March 6th, 2017 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “NEW STORE COMING TO AMES, IOWA!”

Ames, Iowa – March 6, 2017 – Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza promises to “Make People Happy with Pizza” when it opens in Ames, Iowa this spring. The new fast casual pizza brand will be located in the heart of Campustown at 2420 Lincoln Way and began construction in February. The nearly 2,800 square foot fast casual pizza restaurant will seat more than 80 guests directly across from the Iowa State University campus.

With a unique mixture of fast casual service, the smolder of oak wood, and fresh ingredients prepped and made daily, Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza aims to leverage its modern twist on the traditional cuisine.

“This franchise concept is not like any other pizza restaurant, and we’re delighted to introduce it to Ames, first,” said Todd Rognes, President of Campustown Hospitality Group, LLC, the owner of the Ames store. “Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza will offer a fun environment for the Campustown community to enjoy fresh, high-quality pizza baked in a real wood-fired oven.”

Smokin Oak's new fast casual pizza restaurant

The new fast casual pizza concept includes a wood-fired oven fueled with burning oak wood to create a unique flavor unattainable with gas heat. The burning wood brings the temperature in the oven to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and as a result, bakes a 10-inch personal pizza in just 90 seconds. “We want students to be able to enjoy a nice, affordable, and healthy meal in time to return to their busy day,” added Rognes.

The Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza brand touts its unique approach to pizza making by making its dough from scratch and using healthy, hand-crafted ingredients. “We hand chop our vegetables throughout the day, we roast our own meats, and we don’t even have freezers in our restaurants,” said Matt Mongoven, Chief Executive Officer of Fourth Avenue Restaurant Group, LLC, the Franchisor of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza. “We make our dough from scratch every day, and we let it ferment for three days, which allows us to develop complex flavors and create a lighter, tastier crust.”

The Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza menu will feature more than 13 specialty pizzas, including a spicy pizza known as the “Cyclone,” a nod to the Iowa State University community. Guests will also be able to build their own pizza using a wide range of fresh ingredients. Even the pizza names, such as the “Italian Stallion” and “The Twist,” reflect the playful brand. The restaurant will also serve starters, salads, wood-fired sandwiches, and craft beer. The store has already started hiring staff and will continue to do so throughout March and April.

“We are building something special for the Ames community and are excited for the grand opening this spring,” said Rognes. “In the fall, I envision Cyclone fans joining us for Saturday football games with a pizza and a beer.”

Updates about the Ames Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza will be available at




December 14th, 2016 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “GRAB A PILLOW…”

Where do we sometimes sleep? By the oven!  Ok, it’s not very often, but it just goes to show how far we’ll go to make sure we make the perfect pizza for every Guest.  Fast casual pizza at its best!



December 14th, 2016 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “GETTING IT RIGHT – EVERY TIME!”

From the time a Guest walks into the restaurant, they are immersed in the Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza experience. Our open kitchen allows our Guests to interact with us in a personal fashion creating a unique dining experience. Join us on our non-stop quest of creating amazing wood-fired pizzas and great service.

Smokin Oak Wood Fired Pizza


November 19th, 2016 Posted by Wood-fired Pizza 0 thoughts on “LET US “WOW” YOU TOO!”

Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza strives to “wow” our guests in a way that creates guest loyalty by exemplifying the basics – quality, hospitality, speed, accuracy, cleanliness and value – at an extraordinary level. We exceed expectations!  We’re a growing fast casual pizza franchise! Come join us.