Local restaurateur latest to jump into Memphis’ food truck scene

Pizza comes in many different forms Downtown. There is the classic style served by Ferraro’s. You can find New York-style pizza at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. Restaurants like The Majestic Grille offer flatbreads. However, for a look back in time to your childhood, you have to take a trip to South Main, where Max’s Sports Bar offers square lunchroom pizzas just like the ones you ate in elementary school. Soon, though, that trip won’t be necessary; the lunchroom pizzas will be coming to you.

Sports bar owner Max Lawhon is expanding his operation by opening Max’s School Lunchroom Pizza Food Truck on Thursday, April 14. Customers will be able to get pepperoni, sausage, and cheese lunchroom pizza, and they can top their pizza with add-ons like extra cheese and jalapenos. The food truck’s debut will be at the weekly food truck rodeo in Court Square that day.

Max sees the truck as a growth opportunity for his employees. “This will open up an entire new world to Michele,” Max said of his head bartender. “By working in Court Square, she will be exposed to a whole new group of bums to chase around with her baseball bat.” Panhandler “June Bug”, a staple in the Downtown core, had this to say, “Mane, everybody down here heard about Michele, she a legend. She ain’t afraid of nothin’. Willie who works the south end told me to watch out. Hey, listen here, you got a dolla I can have?”

To absorb costs involved in operating the food truck, there will be a 50 cent upcharge on the lunchroom pizzas compared to their price at the bar. “I hate doing that, but as you know, food trucks don’t get the best gas mileage,” Max said. “I considered operating out of a Toyota Yaris, but the pizza oven wouldn’t fit in it, even with the back seat folded down.”

Max hopes that brewery owners will repay him for carrying their local beers in his bar by inviting him to park Max’s School Lunchroom Pizza Food Truck outside their taprooms. “Wiseacre Tiny Bomb and the pepperoni would pair well, I think,” Max said, “as would the sausage and Memphis Made’s IPA. For a vegetarian offering, I would pair High Cotton’s ESB with the cheese pizza.”

Some are surprised Max is focusing on the lunchroom pizza for his food truck rather than his bar’s signature sandwich line, but Max believes in the “less is more” philosophy. “Look at my bar itself,” Max said. “No one believed a tiny corner grocery could be converted into a sports bar with 10 TVs.” Max believes in keeping it simple, and no item on his menu is easier to make than the pizza.

A Facebook fan page and Twitter account for the food truck are “in the works,” Max tells me, and should be ready to go a week or so before the truck’s debut.

Congratulations to Max on his new venture! I will be back later today or tomorrow with more news.