The Uproot Pie Company is a mobile wood-fired pizza oven that slings pies at farmers markets in the midcoast in the summertime. But now, with a new permanent space open in the cold months, it’s also a spot to learn, eat and maybe even meet some new people.
The new Uproot Pie Company Carriage House in Thomaston is newly opened and hosting events from pizza-making classes to four-course meals to sourdough 101 classes.
Created by baker and chef Jess Shepard in 2011, the mobile food producer is bucking the trend of food trucks-turned-restaurants by instead creating an indoor space that works with the mobile side of the business instead of replacing it.
“We will never give up the farmers markets. They are our community,” Shepard said.
Instead, this is an expansion into a 19th-century carriage house in Thomaston with a permanent wood-fired oven joining the two mobile wood-fired pizza ovens the company already operates at farmers markets and events. All the wood-fired ovens were built by Andy White.
At a recent sold-out four-course dinner at The Carriage House, diners were greeted with focaccia and olive oil and went on to enjoy olives warmed in the wood-fired oven, a cheese board featuring local Lakin’s Gorges Cheese and homemade chutney with hearth-made sourdough crackers and then wood-fired pizza and a salad with local greens. After finishing off the meal with coffee and dessert, they lingered, chatting at tables with strangers before having an impromptu question and answer session with Shepard.
That’s the kind of community building event she hoped the space would encourage, Shepard said.
“People want communal spots to come to,” Shepard said.
The idea for The Carriage House is years in the making.
After launching in 2011, Shepard’s business quickly grew. Oyster River Winegrowers asked her to bring her mobile wood-fired pizza oven to its winery for a wine and pizza night that’s continued to be held. Meanwhile customers at the farmers markets started asking about on-site catering. That worked out, too.
“That catering really took off. I didn’t see that coming at all in 2011,” Shepard said. “And then people just really got excited about what I was doing and it became a real business.”
But it wasn’t until buying a home in Thomaston in 2016 that she began to think even bigger after spotting the carriage house on a walk with her dog. The timing wasn’t right then, but in 2019 it was and she bought it.
Now, a month after opening the new space, Shepard is excited about what’s to come. A spoon whittling workshop — “They are a really special heirloom item you can have in your kitchen,” she said — and even yoga could be on the horizon as well.
“The possibilities now feel endless,” Shepard said.
The Uproot Pie Co.’s mobile pizza oven can be found at farmers markets in Rockland on Thursdays and Camden on Saturdays, beginning in May. It’s also available for private events, though she said the two mobile ovens are nearly fully booked for this summer.
The Uproot Pie Co. Carriage House is located at 9 Green St. in Thomaston. The full calendar of events, including classes and pizza picnics, can be found at theuprootpieco.com/calendar.
“It’s so fun and new. We just get to hammer out fun details. Like how can we make this better,” Shepard said.