Limestone Pizza: A Signature Kansas Cuisine
Pizza is pure italian all the way, correct ? That ’ s not the way Rick Martin sees it. Rick, the partner and establish chef at Limestone Pizza Kitchen Bar in Lawrence, makes pizza that ’ s deeply rooted — literally — in Kansas .
Rick grew up in Wichita, and his beget much worked evenings. Rick would make dinner for his siblings .
“ I became the cook. I loved to do it. I had a rage for cooking even as a little kid, ” he said.
His appreciation for food went evening deeper. With several keen gardeners in his offer family, Rick and his siblings had access to fresh fruits and vegetables from their gardens .
“ It was barren food if we went and picked it. I ate a set of that food growing up, ” he said .
Rick wasn ’ t wholly certain where any of this would lead him. He grew up in the era before fame chefs, when stories of cooks making it weren ’ triiodothyronine very common. inactive, he couldn ’ thymine ignore his heat and wanted to explore working in restaurants .
“ I had to investigate for myself to see if it was something I wanted to do, ” he said. “ The industry sucked me in and I realized I had a love for it. ”
Rick spent some time in Columbia, Mo. before enrolling at the University of Kansas. After several years of going to school half-time and bring in restaurants full-time, he had to make a decision. He quit school to focus on his culinary career .
At the time, he was working at Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence. He worked his way up to coach, then head chef. There, Rick worked with Chuck Magerl and started getting into sourcing food locally .
“ During my time there, I came to appreciate Chuck ’ s initiate spirit and love of local agriculture, ” Rick said .
But Rick had an mind he couldn ’ t shake. He wanted to make pizza. It wasn ’ t a meet at Free State, but, as fortune would have it, Charles Rascoll, an companion of Chuck ’ mho, and his wife Debbie approached Rick about doing a concept restaurant in Lawrence .
At beginning, they planned to open an upscale diner with another investor, but that fell through. Rick, Charles and Debbie got together to regroup and Rick told them about his estimate to do something with pizza .
“ Their eyes lit up. They had been thinking of it, besides, ” Rick said .
After that, things moved promptly and Limestone Pizza Kitchen Bar opened in 2014 .
From his days at free State, Rick had developed a rage for working with local farmers and ingredients, but the community didn ’ metric ton have a solid system in place to make it happen efficiently. Ingredients weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate constantly available, or not in the quantities they needed. price and payment were often handled at delivery. Rick knew his operation had to innovate to be scalable and sustainable. “ I was trying to find ways to work with those producers that wanted to talk up-front price, ” he said .
Rick had great relationships with farmers and found a few that wanted to work with him in imaginative ways .
“ I had a farmer who started growing broccoli in his greenhouses that we could use in winter. I started going crazy. I loved it, ” Rick said .
Word got out and more people starting approaching Rick with ideas. Scott Thellman from Juniper Hill Farms and Kevin Irick were two farmers who developed partnerships with Rick early on. Scott operated very much like a national food supplier company with up-front price and cohesive stigmatization. Kevin wanted to grow specifically for Limestone and planted what they wanted on faith. An old-school farmer, Kevin modernized and embraced texting and emailing to conduct commercial enterprise with Rick .
“ It ’ s been in truth neat to see the growth of those producers who were with us from the beginning, ” Rick said.
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Rick has besides evolved and modernized. He developed his own web-based system for food cost called KitchenScratch. It lets him determine the actual monetary value of items on the menu. That way, he can ensure his price structure will sustain the business, and he can communicate with farmers more easily .
“ I designed it to be able to build on this commerce that we ’ ve achieved. That has been very helpful in running the business, ” he said. “ All in all, if we ’ ra producing more and attracting more people to grow here, Lawrence and the Kaw Valley become better destinations for farmers and people living here. ”
In addition to finding local ingredients for toppings, there ’ s the initiation of any estimable pizza — the boodle .
“ We live in the Wheat State. That was easy to beginning locally, ” Rick said .
Heartland Mill in Marienthal had been building their occupation to cater to the food industry, selling Kansas flour to restaurants. It was easy for Rick to plug into that model .
It ’ mho unmanageable if not impossible to be wholly locally sourced, Rick said. But he ’ s done his best — right depressed to the forest they use in their ovens, which comes from local anesthetic hedge wood .
however, he ’ second faced challenges when sourcing local. For starters, ingredients like carrots, onions and potatoes are much more expensive to buy when they ’ ra produced at a little scale. It doesn ’ t make feel to reference those locally. There ’ second besides the write out of handiness. Rick developed a seasonal worker menu to capitalize on acme produce, but it can be tough to tell customers their darling summer pizza international relations and security network ’ thyroxine available because corn is no longer in season .
“ They have to say goodbye to their favorite pizza for another nine months, ” he said .
Rick sees that as a lastingness .
“ One hundred years ago that ’ s the means it was, ” he said. “ Growing up a kid who was athirst sometimes — those vegetables I ate out of my uncle ’ mho garden were amazing. Those are some of the sentimentalities I very love to work on. ”
Rick hopes his narrative will get others to think about their food differently, to appreciate seasonality and the attempt it takes to produce .
Rick besides hopes to elevate the restaurant business in his community .
“ We ’ re seeing a sharp decline in pastime in manual labor across the control panel in the technical school age. cipher wants to wash dishes anymore, ” Rick said. “ It ’ s a partially of my mission to bring back the prestige of doing a craft job with your hands that ’ s an art, a craft and something to be gallant of, evening if you start out washing dishes. ”
To that end, Rick teaches culinary arts for the Lawrence School District ( USD 497 ) at the Lawrence College and Career Center. It lets him promote the food diligence while creating a pipeline of talent .
“ It becomes a family tree, ” he said. “ When I train students in high school and they go on to work for me or in a job where I help place them, that creates a kin tree with the origin in my classroom, my instructional kitchen. And it helps them see how big restaurant and food serve sour can be. People in our diligence are amazing people all across the display panel. ”
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Rick surely knows firsthand how bang-up the work can be, and his career is a testament to the value of hard work and learning a craft .
“ It made me who I am today, ” he said .
If you find yourself in Lawrence, barricade by Limestone to enjoy pizza with a homegrown crust and savor the flavors of the season — while you can !