T&B Brickfire opens for business

Business owners Kane Melling and Alyssa Fitch have been preparing non-stop for T&B Brickfire’s opening day.

Frank Turner

 This week the new downtown Hettinger pizza restaurant fired up its brick oven and opened its doors for business.
T&B Brickfire is located in the Prairie Rose Floral building. While one side of the building is still dedicated to selling flowers and coffee, the other is now serving high-quality brick oven pizza.
Melling and Fitch decided to name the business after their two kids, Tyler and Bentley.
“We tried to get both the flower shop and pizza place in the same name, and that just wasn’t working,” said Melling.
One of the kids suggested that their names should be used in the restaurant’s name and Melling and Fitch rolled with it.
“Eventually they will be working here so we thought it was fitting,” said Melling.
Melling was cautiously optimistic heading into the opening week and considered Monday to be the business’s “soft opening.” Melling said that, leading up to the opening day, he had spent most of the time perfecting his pizza recipes.
“This week is about getting dialed in,” he said.
According to Melling, the restaurant’s goal is to provide Hettinger an excitingly new and unique experience that people won’t be able to be find elsewhere in the area. According to Melling, the closest, similar brick pizza oven is in Bismarck.
The focus of the pizza restaurant is to offer a true Italian style Neapolitan pizza. To provide this experience, Melling and Fitch flew all the way to California to take classes on how to start, cook, and maintain the oven.
Melling was excited about using the authentic, Italian-certified ingredients he ordered into the restaurant.
“It’s going to be a little more expensive on my margins, but I’d rather have the higher end product,” he said.
On opening day, Melling showed off his newfound brick oven skills. After rolling out the dough and loading the soon-to-be pizza with sauce and toppings, he would whip the creation into the oven using a long-handled metal spatula called a peel.
The oven works incredibly fast. According to Melling, the brick oven can maintain temperatures around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. These high temperatures allow the pizzas to fully cook in only four minutes. Once business gets rolling, Melling said that he will be able to cook four pizzas at a time.
Looking forward, Melling is looking forward to the numerous possibilities of the oven and the T&B Brickfire business.
“We are going to have a Point-of-Sale system where you will be able to order online. You will be able to build your own pizza using your phone,” he said.
While pizza will be the main specialty, Melling is also looking to eventually broaden his menu into pastas and branch out into a broader restaurant experience unique to Adams County.
This week’s opening was just the beginning for T&B Brickfire. As the business develops, the possibilities will only continue to grow. In the mean time, the new pizza oven provides a refreshing breathe of innovation into Hettinger’s downtown.