Fatta A Mano’s wood-fired pizzeria on wheels rolling to a location near you

You need only to look at their faces when they talk about their prep kitchen in Pinette, the beauty of their PEI ingredients, the process of making their pizzas, and the local farmers that they purchase their products from, to know that Alex and Sam Bevan-Baker are elbow deep in their passion project/full-time job.

“I saw a wood-fired oven on the campus at Memorial [University] one day and I said, ‘I’m going to have one of those someday,’” Sam said. The Bevan-Baker brothers, both culinary trained and self-proclaimed “bio dropouts”, grin in unison as they tell the story of how they opened the travelling clay oven pizzeria, Fatta A Mano earlier this spring. “We always knew we wanted to open a restaurant together. We would always joke about it, the timing has finally worked out. It’s a sight to see. We cram everything into the back of our Pontiac Vibe, hitch the oven onto the back and we’re off,” Alex said.

The pizza pie enters a 1000-degree clay oven built by mason John Rousseau with the help of Alex and Sam themselves. From the beautiful, tangy sourdough crust and sweet stratas of tomato sauce, Island cheese, and locally sourced toppings, each layer is a work of art. Cut into six pieces, the smell of melted cheese and warm tomatoes radiates off the top of each pie. In interest of both product quality and supporting the Island community, Alex and Sam use 100 percent PEI ingredients and, as often as possible, organics. The only exception to this “local only” commitment is a portion of the pizza dough flour which they order from the organic flour mill, La Milanaise in Quebec.

A sourdough pizza fresh out of the oven Photo credit: Hanna Hameline

The sensitive nature of each element of Fatta A Mano: the dough, the fire, the individuality of each locally sourced ingredient, the gentle nature of both Alex and Sam, all work together to create a product of finesse and artistry. At the same time, the brothers self-identify as a bit of a walking contradiction, “Fatta A Mano is both elegant and… rough,” Alex laughed. The fire, dough, local produce and proteins, combined with the beards, Blundstones, constant hustle involved with opening a new business, and tendency toward being human, all add up to lend qualities perhaps contrary to elegance. “We both have beards, we wear steel toe Blundstones. We are no bullshit, we’re unpretentious… we just want to put out really good product,” Alex said.

With its plein aire, or aria aperta resto design and mentality, Fatta A Mano’s oven is regularly visiting three locations weekly over the course of the summer: Thursday evenings at Copper Bottom Brewery in Montague, Friday evenings at Barnone Brewery in Breadalbane, and Sundays at the Downtown Charlottetown Market. In addition to these scheduled weekly cookouts, the brothers will be catering various events across the Island all summer.

For these two new entrepreneurs, busy is an understatement. Despite the hectic schedule and long days, however, Alex and Sam are enjoying running their own business. “My favourite thing is working for myself and working with Alex. The stress of working in the kitchen on someone else’s time just isn’t there,” Sam said. Alex agreed, “I love working with my brother. We are really different, but we complement one another and we work really well together.”

These brothers take the Island foodscape, arrange it beautifully on a dough canvas, and deliver it your table. With a product, service, and philosophy like that, the name Fatta A Mano or “made by hand” in Italian, really could not be a more suiting descriptor.

Fatta A Mano supports these local producers:

Heart Beet Organics
Schurman Family Farm
Crystal Green Farms
Oak Isle Farm
Pleasant Pork
Papia Papa
Harmony Meadow Farm
Eureka Garlic
Lucky Bee Homestead
Glasgow Glen Farm
Ferme Isle St. Jean
Vankampen Greenhouses
Prince Edward Island Sea Salt Company
Heatherdale Wholesome Goods
Island Gold Honey

About Hanna Hameline

Hanna is a graduate of UPEI with a B.A. in Sociology. She has completed trainings in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Shambhala Meditation, and Maritime Yoga College 200-HR Yoga teacher training program. Hanna currently works as the communications coordinator for the PEI Certified Organic Producers Co-operative and has volunteered with PEI Food Security Network, ECO PEI, The Voluntary Resource Centre, and Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. She warmly invites you to contact her with any food lovin’ stories or ideas you would like written about.

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