Helena’s newest pizza restaurant can serve 152 pizzas an hour due to an Italian oven kept at 630 degrees.
New to the restaurant business, owner Trevor McLeod spent months researching and investing in equipment to keep costs low to his customers. The restaurant, Mountain Ranch House, located at 625 Barney Ave., officially opened this weekend.
The theme of the restaurant is based on the Green Meadow Ranch, a 620-acre piece of land in Helena used to raise Angus cattle until it was sold and divided in 1972.
McLeod serves 14-inch pizzas ranging from $9 to $16 with homemade crust, sauces and their own cheese blend.
“I spent money up front to bring down the cost of pizza,” he said.
The oven he chose, a Marana Forni, has a rotating deck that raises and lowers again. That way, the dome of the machine can retain heat and cook pizzas during slower times of the day without using gas.
He also purchased a pasta maker for fresh fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna and spaghetti. Sandwiches are made with bread baked in house.
While there’s a lot of options for pizza in Helena, McLeod said he heard time and time again that people wanted an affordable pizza with good homemade ingredients.
“I don’t want to serve an inferior product,” he said.
McLeod hired an executive chef out of culinary school in Denver who helped him create his menu. He plans to hire 20 to 25 employees.
McLeod said the past few months of figuring out a process have forced him to question whether he should be in the restaurant business, but things have come together over the past few days. Recently, his 8-year-old daughter made Mountain Ranch’s first-ever pizza, which is pictured on the menu to reinforce McLeod’s dedication to a family-friendly restaurant.
A large portion of the business will be delivery, McLeod said. As part of the Cottonwood Corner on Barney Avenue, Mountain Ranch is close enough to the North Valley, where many pizza places don't deliver. McLeod said delivery gets more expensive based on mileage for the driver, but they don’t plan to say no to a request for delivery. He said it may seem off the beaten path, but it is close to a number of housing developments, new businesses and Capital High School.
“It’s a good location, and it’s going to be a great location,” he said.
McLeod said he hopes to get a license to serve beer and wine through the lottery in July.