Touring Texoma: Ancient Ovens

 Over the past month, Darrell Franklin's been back out on the road, on his tour of Texoma.

And, in the first of his latest 4- part set of reports, he's taking us to Montague County.

That's where a place called Ancient Ovens sits right in the beautiful north texas hill country, offering folks far and wide, outdoor oven- baked Italian style cuisine.

Hot pizza! Pepperoni! Hot pizza! Spinach! Etc... Pepperoni mushroom!!

After just 2- and- a- half short years in business, word's spreading fast about the ambiance at Ancient Ovens.

Gloria Howell/Wichita Falls Resident: "I love it. It's beautiful. You don't see this in Wichita Falls."

Anna Pittman/Wichita Falls Resident: "It's delicious. A minute and a half. It took a minute and a half, and it's really hot and really good."

Ancient Ovens sits about 5- miles north of Saint Jo.

It was the brain child of Denis and Susan Moody after he retired, the first from their family, all in the Navy.

Denis: "Well, my wife Susan told me I was going to go to this school up in Minnesota to build these wood fired ovens." "My goal was to build them for people's back yards."

But quickly, it became apparent they might just have something very special in their own back yard.

Denis: "Susan came up with this menu. And, we've refined it and refined it. And, kind of started feeding family and friends and people from our church in Muenster, and other places. And, people were wanting to have family reunions here. And then, pretty soon we were getting phone calls with people saying, hey I heard you're cooking pizza out in your back yard. Can we come hang out?"

Susan: "We did not have any dreams, or any ideas this would grow like it has. And, we've kind of grown with it, put a lot of our imagination, a lot of our creativity into it."

In fact, their indoor dining lodge is complete now as well, and the kitchen area, offering year- round service, rain or shine.

Shelby Sleitman: "Artichoke dip, and it has cayenne pepper as a seasoning to add a little pepper to it. And then, this is our Italian tear drops, which is an olive cream cheese, inside a pastry shell. And, we garlic baste it, and then put Italian seasoning on top."

Elizabeth Marshall: "The thing about a Mediterranean style pizza is it's all about the crust, so you can't put too many toppings."

And, just some of the mouth- watering pizzas you'll find there, tomato and basil, Canadian bacon and pineapple. The double meat. Sausage and pepperoni. For the vegetarians, you've got the bell pepper. There are as many as 30- different varieties, though. All placed into the ancient oven, cooked and served in under 2- minutes.

Denis: "You can see ovens like that, similar that they've uncovered. Grease, Rome, France, Britain. All of those places from the 17, 16, 1500's. Just a basic principal." "Cold air spoils in the bottom of the door. Hot air spoils at the top and goes to the chimney opening, right in the front of it."

Susan: "And, the pizzas get cooked on right on the hearth. And, boy it just explodes, the molecules inside the dough."

Elizabeth: "We have iced tea and water. If you guys want to follow me, I'll show you to your seats."

Christopher Marshall: "There's really nothing like it. It's a great job. I get excited to come to work. You meet so many people from all over the world, and last night there were people here from Jerusalem. Yeah, yeah."

People from all over the world, enjoying a 20- dollar, five course gourmet Italian meal out under the lights.

Much of Ancient Ovens' success must center, of course around its beautiful atmosphere...

Denis: "When you kind of sit in the quiet of the evening, or see a thunderstorm.. it's breath taking."

...But it has to be that old, ancient principal of the wood- fired oven that's bringing them back as well, on their own tour of texoma.

Iced tea and water are served at Ancient Ovens, but you're welcome to bring your own adult beverages.

It's open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings.

For more information, or to make a reservation for your couple or group, just call 940-366-4255.

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