There’s a cute little new truck scootin’ around KC, and it’s serving up something bubbly. Read on to meet Katie Currid and her husband Tyler Jackson, and hear the tall tale of truck to tap: how they brought a prosecco truck home from Italy.
How was Fizzolino born?
Fizzolino’s birth is sort of a long story, and also coincides with the birth of our son. We bought our little 3-wheeled Italian Piaggio Ape when we lived in Italy while Tyler was stationed there with the U.S. Army. These little trucks are everywhere in Italy, and are kind of essential because of the tiny streets — they do lots of jobs, like collecting trash, acting as work trucks, and are even farm vehicles. We fell in love with them while we were there — we’d laugh every time we saw one on the highway (Italian road culture is…lax) and they brought us so much joy. I did so much work to source our truck and bring it home, going to every governmental office on our army base while I was 8 months pregnant, pouring over boring governmental regulations to make sure it met customs requirements, and the day we were supposed to pick the truck up from its Italian owners, I actually went into labor. When our son was two months old, we shipped the truck with the rest of our belongings across the ocean and met it all back in Kansas City last spring. We did all the renovations in Kansas City through local businesses, tons of ingenuity from my dad, who did all the tap work, and lots of help with friends.
Tell me about your time living in Italy- what memories and inspiration did you bring back with you?
I couldn’t legally work when we lived in Italy (my background is as a photojournalist) because of visa restrictions on military spouses, so to make up for it, in the best way to kill time ever, I went to a lot of wineries and learned a lot about making wine — okay, and drinking wine. We actually lived an hour from the region where Prosecco is made — a tiny town called Valdobbiadene, affectionately known as “Prosecco road.” Bringing back that love of a wine that was super regional to us in a ridiculous truck that made us so happy seemed like a no-brainer. We spent four years in Italy and have such fond memories of it — and the fact that our truck gets people really excited makes me happy that we could share a piece of our Italian experience with them. We also garnered such an appreciation for locally made, artisan stuff when we were there — there just aren’t that many chain restaurants or franchises in Italy, and people have such talent and craft there, always doing things the traditional way. So the fact that we built a small business out of pieces of our life from Italy is also kind of an homage to the very artisan Italian way.
What are your dreams for Fizzolino this year?
We just launched in September of 2018, so this will be our first full year of business. We’d love to do some public events, like First Fridays, and are working out ways to get a lot of other fun stuff on tap so we can please lots of different palates! If I could get hot cocoa on tap, that would be a game changer.
What were some of the biggest challenges bringing this truck to life?
The biggest challenges have mostly been reading through laws and restrictions. We also had to figure out the entire customs process by ourselves when shipping the truck from Italy, which was no easy feat. The customs agent that showed up at our house kept telling us the Ape was too dirty (it was previously a racing vehicle) and that they wouldn’t approve it to ship unless we cleaned it — and this was after we had already taken it to the car wash and power washed it three times. My husband and I got on the ground and scrubbed the underside of that truck for four hours while movers packed up our house and our newborn son slept in his carseat nearby — we now personally know every inch of our truck!
What inspired you design-wise for the look of the Prosecco truck?
I was really inspired by rustic Italian trattoria, which often features natural wood, copper pots and very ornate signage — some features you’ll see on our truck. I painstakingly picked the blue inspired by Italian storefronts, too. There’s a cafe in Venice on Saint Mark’s Square called Caffé Florian that claims it’s the oldest cafe in the world — from 1720. I really loved their decor and signage, and gave that to our graphic designer, who is also my best friend, Theresa Berens, for the inspiration for our logo. She used a monoline technique for the logo to modernize it, using that inspiration from photos of Italian trattorias and Caffé Florian that I sent her. I also love that the logo has a bit of an Art Deco feel to it, since so much Kansas City architecture is from that era —though I think that is purely coincidental.
Tell me about some of your favorite events so far.
We’re so new — they’ve all been our favorite! But I’ve got to be biased and say our wedding was my favorite. Tyler and I have been married five years, but never had an “official” wedding because we eloped so I could live in Italy with him when he came up on military orders. So when we moved home last year, we started planning the wedding we never had, which coincided with the launch of Fizzolino. Some of our family members actually didn’t know about the truck, and kept asking where we got it — and we had to tell them it was our new business! It was so nice to celebrate our marriage with all of our extended family members and friends after being overseas so long — and the fact that we did it with our very own Prosecco truck really sealed the deal.
Have you dreamt up any wild dream event ideas for the truck?
I have so many! I have so many themed party ideas I want to do, and would love to collaborate with the many local wineries and distilleries, expanding our bar offerings a bit. We went to a lot of harvest parties in Italy on vineyards, so I think doing that with the truck here in Kansas City would be a blast. But our biggest dream is to open a tasting room in an old firehouse or mechanic garage or gas station. We’d love to open a storefront with locally-sourced goods but also our favorite things from Italy from small business owners that we developed relationships with when we were there, like the local olive oil mill or the fourth-generation coppersmith or the dozens of winemakers we came to know a little too fondly.
To keep up with Fizzolino’s whereabouts, find them on Instagram at @kcfizzolino.