Turtle Bus’ new wood-fired pizza adds smoky flavor to EagleVail
Turtle Bus’s main mission is to bring fun wherever the green vehicles go, and now, that fun includes pizza. Wood-fired, to be exact.
From the parking lot along the EagleVail Highway 6 business stretch, Turtle Bus fires pizza to-order — in a trailer-mounted, turtle-painted wood-fire oven, no less — and offers accompanying sides, snacks and drinks. The hours are from 3 to 7:30 p.m., with increasing hours as days get longer, and they will offer delivery to EagleVail residents only.
The operation has been up since early January, but it first started over the summer when Turtle Bus took groups to Glenwood Canyon and the surrounding areas for float trips. There was no food on the river, of course.
“And after you float, you just want to eat. People don’t want to go home. They’re hungry. You’re outside in beautiful, sunny Colorado. So, we had the idea to do wood-fired pizza,” said Shane Ward, Turtle Bus’s founder. “It was such a hit.”
Turtle Bus’s main business model is transporting groups in a fun, exciting way, but like many aspects of life as we knew it, the pandemic and resulting health codes made it very difficult for Turtle Bus to do that. So, they brought pizza back.
“This wonderful turtle was in hibernation down in Dotsero,” Ward said, pointing to the mobile oven, “So, we had to bring her out of hibernation.”
The only other wood-fired pizza in the Vail Valley, Ward believes, is at Zino Ristorante in Edwards. La Bottega in Vail also has wood-fired pizza. Most other spots use regular conveyer-style pizza ovens, and the wood-fired cooking method results in a different pizza. The high heat helps the crust rise and gives it a smoky flavor that no other oven can give. Plus, it takes much less time to cook.
Turtle Bus also parked one of its buses behind the wood-fire oven, so guests can “dine-in” if they so choose, but the pizzas are a popular take-out option among locals. Turtle Bus has seen steady business since it opened earlier this year.
With 12 years in business under its belt, Turtle Bus is also using one of its larger coach buses as a “Bustauraunt.” Ward noticed that dining with a group of larger than six people has become quite a challenge these days, and hopes to offer an option that will be able to cater to larger group sizes. The Bustauraunt, outfitted with several tables, lounge areas and a bar, will pick your group up, drive to the EagleVail homebase, get pizza, and drive around for 90 minutes while you eat and be merry.
“You’re going out to dinner, but dinner is coming to you,” Ward said. “We are a place for groups. If you have friends and family and you want to come out, we’re here for you. We facilitate fun.”
For more information about Turtle Bus and its varied services, visit theturtlebus.com.
On the Menu
Here’s what’s on the menu at Turtle Bus’s wood-fired pizza spot.
Sides are $5 each:
- Garlic knots with marinara
- Roasted cauliflower with pesto drizzle
Pizzas are $10 each, with toppings to add:
- Fresh mozzarella
- Red onion
- Bell pepper
Desserts and drinks are $2 each:
- Turtle Brownie
- Chocoalate chip cookie
- Assorted San Pellegrino
Updated at 12:55 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12: In addition to Zino Ristorante, La Bottega also has wood-fired pizza.