Firehouse Pizza Representing Casper in ‘International Pizza Challenge’ in Las Vegas
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore.
And amore is definitely what Justin Boltz, owner of Firehouse Pizza Wood Fired in Casper, has for his pizza shop, which is why he and his team are currently in Las Vegas at the 'International Pizza Expo & Conference,' representing Casper and competing against dozens of other pizza places to take home the prize of 'Best Pizza.'
But he almost didn't make it.
"I actually competed here in 2019 and placed in the top three," Boltz told K2 Radio News. "In 2020, due to the pandemic, they didn't have conference and in 2021 they kept canceling and moving it, so I wasn't able to make it. This year, I actually competed at the Wyoming State Power Lifting Competition and tore my right bicep, which is my dominant arm. And so I wasn't even sure I was gonna be able to make it because I'm still in the healing process. But, we ended up getting here to Vegas and got everything going and then my arm decided to get infected. So I was in the emergency room all day yesterday and they wanted to do surgery on me. I ended up getting a second opinion from my surgeon in Colorado and they ended up releasing me with antibiotics."
He was back at the competition the next morning, with his dominant arm in a sling.
Talk about dedication; but dedication is something that Boltz and his wife have had for as long as Firehouse Pizza Wood Fired has been in existence, a little over 5 years.
That dedication has led to Firehouse Pizza being voted 'Best Pizza' by the Casper Star Tribune four years in a row. It was also voted 'Best Restaurant in Wyoming' by an online rating system, according to Boltz. And it's easy to see why.
"The big thing with us is that we preach local," Boltz stated. "We're actually the only true local pizza place in Casper. We've made everything in Firehouse from scratch; from the logo to the menu items. Everything is made here. If we can't get it in Casper, we get it in Wyoming. If we can't get it in Wyoming, we get it within 500 miles. All of our ingredients are local."
And, Boltz said, that's the reason Firehouse Pizza stands out amongst its competitors.
"I try to support local, and that's the difference," he said. "You've got your chain restaurants that don't do anything. They've got preservative-filled sauces and cheeses and things like that. We try to go all natural. Everything is made inhouse, from shredding our cheese, we actually hand crush our tomatoes to make our tomato sauce, we make our dough from scratch every day. We cold age it and we use an organic yeast that's over five years old, that's grown on Casper Mountain."
And it's not just the ingredients that put Firehouse Pizza at that next level; it's the customization options as well. Boltz said they have over a thousand combinations to choose from. Diners can get a whole pizza, a slice, or a personal pizza. They make a hand-crushed tomato sauce, as well as a vodka cream sauce and a pesto sauce and it only takes about 90 seconds for them to actually cook the pizza, due to their wood fire oven. They also have cheese bread and wood fired wings, because nothing goes better with pizza than wings.
All of these reasons and more led Firehouse Pizza Wood Fire to the competition in Vegas. But, more than anything else - more than the ingredients, and the combinations, and the quality - it's the dedication of Boltz and his wife that have made Firehouse Pizza one of the best pizza places in Casper, in Wyoming, and beyond. And no matter where they go, no matter what competitions they enter, they are proud to represent Casper each and every time.
"I love Casper," Boltz said. "We've both grown up here. I've been here pretty much my whole life. I just love the community and the people. We support them, they support us, and we all support the other locals. With the pandemic and everything, it's really important to support local and to try and do whatever we can to benefit our community and bring people together. There's so much we can do to help each other, and we're proud to support and be supported by Casper, Wyoming."