The residents of the 900 block of North Taylor Avenue got a big surprise last weekend, when their block party received a visit from Bricks Wood-Fired Pizza Café.

The neighbors were expecting Bricks, which opened its newest restaurant at 128 N. Oak Park Ave. in April, but they thought the restaurant would simply be providing food for the event.

Instead, the block party became a test case for the maiden voyage of Bricks’ first food truck.

Bricks co-owner Ric Gruber Jr., who is one part restaurateur and one part showman, said he “fibbed” and told the block-party organizers he’d be bringing a small cart.

He says, “Their jaws dropped,” when the new truck – a 20-foot shipping container attached to a flat-bed truck – showed up at the event.

The side of the shipping container was specially made by Gruber’s cousin, who fitted the side of the vessel with glass, making the interior visible from the street, Gruber said.

Gruber said he wanted the truck to be something special and create a spectacle.

“Because of how stunning our stores are and how hard we worked for our brand, we didn’t want to just put together any old truck,” Gruber said in a telephone interview. “It becomes more like a show than just ordering from a window.”

Gruber says the truck is equipped with a slightly smaller version of its namesake wood-fired oven that can bake pizzas in about 90 seconds. “We served about 50 to 60 people in under an hour and a half,” he said of the block party.

Bricks is booking events for the truck across the Chicago area for the rest of the year and has posted a calendar on its website (http://brickswoodfiredpizza.com/onwheels) for those interested in tracking down the vehicle.

* This article was updated to correct the location of the block party.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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