It’s eight o'clock in the evening on a Monday, and I’m hungry. Like many university students, I’m trying to muster up every piece of advice my mom has ever given me in order to survive the years ahead. Advice #1: Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. And in an effort to avoid the afternoon crowds at WinCo, the wait has summoned the aggressive noises currently issuing from my stomach. There’s Queen’s Chopstick, Starbucks, and something new. A neon pizza slice hangs in the window of 2 Stones Wood Fired Italian Trattoria. Curiosity piqued and with my pizza-loving boyfriend in tow, we move past the large-windowed façade, under the eaves, and straight through the double doors.

What It's Like 

It’s like coming home—warm, ochre walls, gorgeous pendants dangling from the ceiling, and an overwhelming scent of yeast and smashed tomatoes. It’s a partial service restaurant—fast, without being fast food. The menu is simple: a variety of pizzas, salads, and desserts, plus a healthy array of wines and beers. We order and take our seats, barely waiting before a hot, fresh pizza is placed before us. A buttery, chewy crust, topped with buffalo-milk cheese, and a generous smattering of pepperoni, salami, and sausage. It’s decadent, filling, and altogether satisfying.

How It All Began 

I was curious about how this restaurant began, so I interviewed Sam, the owner. I was nervous for the interview, fumbling with my voice recorder and trying to outwardly emulate the reporters I’d seen on NPR to no avail. Sam was friendly and open, as always, with his black-framed glasses perched firmly on the bridge of his nose, eyes glittering genially behind the lenses. He was wearing a little black hat and a chef’s jacket that made him look like a chef on the Starship Enterprise. He’s bright and charismatic, exactly what you’d imagine a successful businessman to be.

The story begins two years ago, when Sam, a Healthcare Software employee and celiac, partnered with his brother, Wyman, to form an eatery that would cater to the needs of both gluten-lovers and their gluten-intolerant counterparts. Sam noticed during his time in Italy that the Italians had far surpassed the United States in terms of gluten-free offerings. Nearly every eatery had gluten-free options, many of the dishes nearly indistinguishable from the gluten-loaded alternatives.

With this in mind, 2 Stones was born. It’s smartly modeled, with no difference between menus (i.e. everything can be made gluten-free) and no additional fees for those that choose gluten-free menu items. That is the first of many aspects that sets 2 Stones apart from other Corvallis pizzerias. Other businesses either charge extra or don’t have the option at all. At 2 Stones, safety begins with the employees; those hired on to the team are watched carefully and screened for their attention to detail. Everything is color coded, with a separate prep area, storage room, and wood-fired oven. The devotion behind ensuring celiac and gluten-free diners can enjoy a meal out with the promise of safety and consistency is game-changing.

What to Order

2 Stones is also known for its Neapolitan-style pizza, a term meaning that the pizza is made in the traditional Naples way. Soon, Sam and his team will be able to relabel themselves as serving Neapolitan pizza (sans "style"), a certification that requires plenty of legwork. The spirit and vibrancy of Italy are ever-present in 2 Stones. From the homey decor to the operatic, classical soundtrack, stepping into 2 Stones is exactly like stepping into a family-owned trattoria in Italy. One customer, who had just returned from a visit to Italy, commented on the accuracy of 2 Stones representation. Besides adhering to tradition within the menu, the overall atmosphere at 2 Stones is exactly that: traditional and heartwarming.

Over the past few months, 2 Stones has steadily expanded their menu. With added subs (lunchtime only) and pasta, the future menu will also include rotating specials and soups. And while all the dishes are freshly made and expertly prepared, the beauty of the food is that many of its elements are locally sourced. 2 Towns Ciderhouse provides cider on tap, while Treos offers “the best Pinot in Oregon”—according to Sam.

The cheese contains a good percentage of buffalo’s milk, the rolls are provided by Alpine Bakery, salad greens come from Gathering Together Farm, Denison Farms, and Wandering Gardens, and a blend of authenticity arises from true Italian flour and fresh tomatoes (grown at the base of Mt. Vesuvius). The passion that drives each small business to create and collaborate collectively, produces food bred in an environment of positivity and mutual enthusiasm. By assisting each other, each business is able to thrive independently.

And the best part about owning a business? The freedom, absence of politics, diversity of involvement, and the overall pride of walking into a place that was just an idea years ago. From drawing boards to business proposals, 2 Stones was years in the making, but now it’s a tangible, blossoming business with plenty of room and capabilities for growth. So, next time you plan on going grocery shopping on an empty stomach (or anytime, really), shift your path a little to the right and experience the personification of family, warmth, and passion at 2 Stones Wood Fired Italian Trattoria.