By Charlie Pogacar

Pizza trucks have become ubiquitous, but Louise Joseph started hers before it was cool.

Joseph launched Dough Girls pizza truck in 2015 and has since racked up a loyal following—along with some impressive awards for her cutting-edge Neapolitan-style pizza. Based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Dough Girls serves pizza as far north as New Haven (an hour’s drive on a good day) and as far south as New York City (about the same).

Dough Girls stands out from competitors for several reasons. For one thing, Joseph’s craft exhibits immense attention to detail: She makes her dough, sauce and mozzarella cheese from scratch. She mixes her dough by hand, using a recipe that took her three years of on-and-off tinkering to perfect.

Related: Atlanta Pizza Truck: A New Direction For Neapolitan Pizza

A woman works inside her pizza truck.

“Sometimes it’s more expensive to buy things like mozzarella, premade,” Joseph said, explaining why she chooses to make everything from scratch. “But it’s also about having more control over the process. You know what you’re putting into it, and you can kind of plan things a little better.”

There’s also the fact that Joseph makes Neapolitan-style pizza despite being geographically situated between two of the most famous pizza capitals in the U.S. Joseph loves all types of pizza but felt the Neapolitan format would help her serve something wood-fired, delicious and personal—all things she values.

Finally, there’s the fact that Joseph is a woman in an industry so often dominated by men. Others have taken note: In 2021, Joseph was paid a visit by Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, who championed entrepreneurial women working through the pandemic. When Joseph won runner-up for specialty pizza at the Apizza Feast a few years back—and runner-up last year for a cheese pizza at the same festival—she was the lone female competitor at the event.

Three Neopolitan-style pizzas.

Dough Girls Pizza

“It is a very male dominated field here in the United States,” Joseph told the Women’s Business Development Council in 2019. “People still aren’t used to women cooking and especially women making pizza.”

Joseph’s love of pizza can be traced back to her childhood in West Haven, Connecticut, a small city situated just southwest of New Haven. She went to high school in downtown New Haven and gets nostalgic talking about waiting for Frank Pepe and Sally’s Apizza to open after school—back then, the famous pizzerias didn’t offer lunch hours. She and her friends would more frequently end up at Yorkside Pizza, often thought of as the “local favorite” of the New Haven pizza scene.

Joseph’s late mother, Alice, was a tremendous cook and influence on her daughter, so much so that the Dough Girls’ food truck is adorned with the words “Alice’s Daughter” on its driver-side door. Alice’s parents emigrated from Cape Verde, a small island country off the coast of West Africa.

“I’m not just saying this because she was my mom,” Joseph said. “She was a fantastic cook. There were ten siblings in her family, and all the holidays were at my house. She was just a really, really good cook.”

Inspired by her mother’s cooking and love of food, Joseph attended Johnson and Wales culinary school in Providence, Rhode Island. By the 2010s, she found herself in a corporate kitchen job that did little to inspire her. She began dreaming of opening her own business, and pizza just seemed to make sense. She found a dough recipe that she loved and began tinkering with it to ensure it would stand out in a crowded field.

“I figured I had to shush it up a bit,” Joseph said. “And now that is definitely the highlight of my pizza. It’s all in the dough.”

Joseph began mixing her dough by hand out of necessity—she didn’t have money to spend on a dough mixer at the time. She still does it that way, partially out of habit but also because she thinks it makes her dough that much better.

The Dough Girls’ menu is full of unique 12” offerings. The most popular pizza is the Mashed, which includes handmade mashed potatoes, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions and aged mozzarella. “Mashed potatoes on pizza?” is a question that Joseph often fields, but she promises it’s a hit with nearly everyone who tries it.

The Mashed, a pizza by Dough Girls pizza truck, which includes handmade mashed potatoes, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions and aged mozzarella.

The Mashed (Dough Girls Pizza)

Other best-selling pizzas include a Margherita pie, the Arugula (vodka sauce, aged mozzarella and arugula) and the Pesto (broccoli rabe pesto, Italian sausage, cherry peppers and aged mozzarella). The truck also offers three desserts: warm apple tart, vanilla gelato and rainbow italian ice.

Typically, Joseph works events about five days a week. When she gets free time, she loves venturing out and trying all different types of pizza. In fact, her pursuit of other great pizza could be considered an obsession. The good news is that she’s located in one of the world’s best places to find great pizza: an hour in either direction from New York City and New Haven.

“I basically will eat any type of pizza,” Joseph said. “I am more fond of coal and wood-fired pizzas—those are my favorite—but if somebody tells me such-and-such place is good, I gotta go try it.”

For those in Southern Connecticut who are similarly obsessed with the pursuit of great pizza, the good news about Dough Girls is that it’s on wheels. Rather than trying to find great pizza, it just might find you.