Tucked away on a farm in Wellman is the kind of farm every kid dreams of: a pizza farm. Julia McNurlen and her husband are the owners of Stone Wall Pizza which serves up pizza every Friday night on their family farm.
It all started seven years ago when the McNurlens decided to build a brick-oven in the yard. Julia, having grown up in the food-truck business, got the idea to create another one and put it on wheels. They purchased a truck, purchased an oven and soon had their own business going as the first mobile brick-oven in the state of Iowa.
“When I called the health department, they were like ‘You want to do what?’” she recalled with a laugh. “I’m like it’ll work. It’ll be fun.”
After taking their food truck to parties, catering for businesses and vendor events, they decided to open up their farm to the public as well. Every Friday beginning at 5 p.m., the public is welcome to bring their own beverages and seating and camp out in the yard for a night of pizza eating.
The food is served buffet style with four different kinds of pizza available. Guests pay one price, receive a wristband and a plate and take their pick. McNurlen said she loves experimenting with flavors and creates new options weekly.
They always have a half cheese-half pepperoni option available, a vegetarian and two meat-lover’s. Crowds can vary, but McNurlen said a typical Friday night can see as many as 100 people in the yard and twice a month when they have live music, the number rises.
She said looking out and seeing her yard covered in people can be overwhelming sometimes, but most of the time, she’s just glad to be able to share her home and land with the community.
“I love seeing people and letting them enjoy the farm because our view is really gorgeous,” she said.
She said the process of getting the businesses started was slow but has slowly gained momentum as a steady string of loyal customers have been built up over the seven years the business has been open.
“It’s kind of like a little-known secret that we’re here,” she said.
Being a little-known secret works to her advantage, she said, because there is more pizza to go around and the lines move faster for customers. For those still on the fence about trying an outdoor meal, McNurlen encourages them to just give it a try.
“The pizza is wonderful, the view is amazing and it’s just a chance to enjoy the outdoors and it’s different,” she said.
McNurlen said for people who live or work in the city, being able to come to the country and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and good food makes for a great way to wrap up the workweek.
“It’s kind of amazing, our farm,” she said.
Stone Wall Pizza is located at 3297 320th Street in Wellman. For parties of 10 or more, they request a call ahead of time in order for them to prepare accordingly. They can be contacted at 319-530-3239 or on Facebook at Stone Wall Brick Oven Pizza.