Tiny Floating Homes: PIZZA PI VI, a Virgin Islands Food Boat

Get ready to see the hottest tiny house around! Literally. Here’s PIZZA PI, a Virgin Islands Food Boat…

Sasha and Tara Bouis have turned their tiny floating home into a FOOD BOAT serving fresh baked pizza served on delicious made-from-scratch slow-fermentation New York style crust. Each pizza is made to order with fresh local ingredients. They offer a gluten-free menu and they have even partnered with a local ice-creamery, Scoops and Brew, to serve the best ice cream in the islands!

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Pizza and ice cream, on a sailboat, in the Caribbean. Does it get any better than that?

THE CREW

Capt. Sasha began his journey in Manhattan. He graduated from MIT and spent years working on Wall Street. His passion for the sea grew so strong, he decided to leave it all behind and become a sailboat captain. The chilly waters near his home town sent him in search of a warmer climate, landing him in the beautiful Virgin Islands where he met Tara in 2007.

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Chef Tara graduated from IU in 2005 and taught Elementary Special Education in Indiana while spending the summers teaching SCUBA in the Caribbean. She met Sasha and knew her heart belonged in the islands with him. After taking a leap of faith, Tara is now an award-winning yacht chef and an expert at biting off more than she can chew. Tara designed the entire layout before renovating the boat and then built it herself! The result? The most amazing floating home ever!

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THE BOAT

Pi is a 37 ft. G.L. Watson design built in 1996 in Sheffield, England.  The entire boat is built with a whopping quarter-inch thick aluminum plate. She’s a sturdy motorsailor equipped with a vintage Perkins 4.236 engine and sails to carry her wherever the wind blows.

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THE GALLEY

To keep up with the water demand for washing dishes, Sasha and Tara fitted a DIY water maker that produces up to 40-gallons per hour.

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The galley boasts commercial equipment such as the Baker’s Pride P44S-BL (Brick Lined) oven measuring 26″w x 28″h x 28″d. There are two separately controlled baking chambers and each chamber has two 21″ decks. This allows for cranking out 4 pizzas every 15 minutes! Sasha designed a hood ventilation system to direct the heat up and out keeping the galley nice and cool.

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They also installed an industrial 20-quart Hobart mixer and a mechanical hanging basket scale for dough-making. The hanging scale is much better than a regular mechanical scale on a boat because the measurements aren’t affected by the rocking motion caused by waves.

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To support the electrical demands of all these appliances, Pi is outfitted with (2) 130 watt Kyocera solar panels, a 12kw Northern Lights Generator and a hefty battery bank.

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THE LIVING SPACE

Sasha and Tara spent two years building Pi into everything they dreamed she could be. They turned her into a fully operational vessel as well as a very cozy tiny floating home. They lived aboard after all the basic necessities were finished during the construction process, right up until Pizza Pi was officially open for business. Due to Health Department requirements, they can’t actually LIVE on the boat anymore but they maintain the functionality that makes this the most awesome tiny floating home around!

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If you’re interested in seeing how this boat was transformed from a bare aluminum shell to a smokin’ hot pizza joint in the Virgin Islands, check out Sasha and Tara’s blog as they catalogued the whole process.

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PIZZA PI VI is located in the beautiful Christmas Cove, Great St. James Island near the East end of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Christmas Cove has FREE mooring balls, amazing snorkeling and some of the best sunsets of all the Virgin Islands.

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Taking a trip to USVI soon? Visit www.pizza-pi.com for more information or check them out here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pizzapivi
Twitter: @pizzapivi
Instagram: pizzapivi

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Hail them on VHF Channel 16 to place your order. You can also call or email it in too. Just tell them what you want and swing by in your dinghy to pick it up 15 minutes later. Credit carts are preferred but cash is okay too. If you visit often, you can ask for a Captain’s Card.

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Pi will even deliver! (Within Christmas Cove that is.)

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By Jody Pountain for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

 

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Wilbour - January 30, 2015 Reply

So a slice would go for $3.14?

Andrew M. Odom - January 30, 2015 Reply

Ironically enough this non-traditional tiny house/business is a stalwart of the American Dream. The dedication to their passion makes Sasha and Tara very special and their boat and adaptation to the market in their community make them extra special. It doesn’t hurt that the pizza looks incredible as well. Thank you so much for bringing this story to us who may not have the sea legs for such an endeavor.

    Tara Bouis - February 14, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Andrew for seeing our project for exactly what it is. Our dream was to build something beautiful and functional that would make people would surprise people and make them think. SBTW sea legs are sprouted on the most unlikely of people 🙂

Mark - January 30, 2015 Reply

Love it. What a brilliant idea. Best blog I have read for ages

alice h - January 30, 2015 Reply

Too bad they can’t live on it any more but what a fantastic setup! Almost makes me wish I lived nearby but boat life, alas, does not agree with my “equilibrium”.

    kris - January 30, 2015 Reply

    Can’t live on it? It’s the most awesome place to live. We (humans) spend more tome cooking meals and dining than we spend sleeping. Why shouldn’t the cooking and dining be the best part of the vessel?

      alice h - January 31, 2015 Reply

      According to the article they are not allowed to live on this particular boat due to health department regulations. It’s now a business not a private living space. See the paragraph headed “The Living Space”.

Lisa E. - January 30, 2015 Reply

Holy pizza! How awesome is this???

Bravo, Sasha and Tara! Your entrepreneurship is unique and so well done!

Best success, luck and happy sailing!

Anne M. - January 30, 2015 Reply

What a fantastic idea, and a brilliant success story!! Those pizzas look so delicious I wish I was anchored out in the same bay as them! May you have many more years with Pizzi Pi!

th - January 30, 2015 Reply

How do they make enough money to make this work?

    Tara Bouis - February 14, 2015 Reply

    We saved lots of pennies before we bought the hull and built everything ourselves to save money. During the build we installed mechanical systems that would could maintain ourselves to save money during operation. At this point our goal is to sell 100 pizzas per week to cove costs and make a little money for ourselves. So far, we’ve met or exceeded our goal. (finger crossed that business keeps up!) — Bottom line, we don’t hire anything out unless we have to because labor down here is expensive.

Lori - January 30, 2015 Reply

Exciting idea. Could you explain your DIY water maker? How does it work?

Keep having fun!

    Sasha Bouis - February 15, 2015 Reply

    The water maker is a basic version of a commercial reverse-osmosis (RO) desalination unit. It pumps ordinary sea water through a special membrane that allows only water molecules to pass through it. The result is the purest, cleanest, freshest water you have ever tasted. Ordinary tap water tastes funny to me now, as it has minerals, chlorine, and other chemicals in it, and the RO water does not. RO water is also great for showering and washing dishes because it does not leave spots on the dishes nor is it “soft” or “hard”.
    Here is a good description of how reverse osmosis works
    I bought used refurbished pumps to achieve the 800 psi required. I did all the plumbing myself from the pre-filters, to the membranes, to the diverter valves that allow me to sample the water and test the salinity before filling our tanks.

gus gregerson - January 31, 2015 Reply

I agree with all the positive remarks above. WELL DONE! It’s 0300, -4 degrees, and tummy-growling hungry in this part of mid-America this morning. I can smell the pizza and salt sea from here. Many thanks for a terrific story, looking forward to many more posts to come. gg

Lee Chaille - January 31, 2015 Reply

that Sasha guy did well for himself. what else can you really say..

Peter - February 1, 2015 Reply

I’m a sailor and as such I think liveaboards were kind of the original tiny home dwellers. Definitely kindred spirits. Take the case of Lin and Larry Pardey, they sailed all over the world in a self-built 24? 4? cutter with no motor which is a REALLY small boat to take on an ocean, store provisions and live on. They have a bunch of good books and are famous in the cruising world.

Buying a used sailboat is a good option for someone wanting to minimize. Plus, you can change your scenery anytime by throwing off the lines and moving. Fiberglass lasts forever, so even old boats (Mine is a 1979 Catalina 25) are perfectly seaworthy.

One concern with the article-using VHF16. That’s really an emergency channel. They might get in trouble over that.

“VHF channel 16 (156.8 MHz) is monitored 24 hours a day by coastguards around the world. In addition, all sea bound vessels are advised to monitor channel 16 VHF ”

If they were on my lake I would totally sail up and buy some slices. Thanks for the article!

    Tara Bouis - February 14, 2015 Reply

    Peter — very good observation about the use of channel 16. It is used for hailing and distress only and that is a rule that is strictly enforced.

    Here in the VI it is common practice for boats to hail restaurants on channel 16 and immediately switch to another “working” channel. In our case boats hail us on 16 and we always switch to 13 to chat and take orders. 13 is usually reserved for bridge to bridge… but we have no bridges here so it’s a quiet frequency. So far, no complaints from USCG. In fact they stop by for pizza from time to time.

kurek - February 1, 2015 Reply

Interesting idea. Wish they made some healthier food choices though.

    Tara Bouis - February 14, 2015 Reply

    Hi Kuerk — You’re right. We played it safe on the food front. We could have done something much healthier, but we looked at the business and made the decision base on numbers. Here were a few compelling reasons we chose pizza.

    1) We knew that the food boat concept would be weird and throw people a little bit so we opted to make food that was recognizable and appealing to people from most any culture.

    2) One lovely aspect of pizza is that most ingredients stay stable at room temp – a plus in a small galley with limited cold storage. We had no idea how quickly business would take off so we needed to control food costs in the beginning & perishable foods are expensive down here due to refrigerated container shipping prices.

    3) As we gather steam and build our local network we are using more backyard farmers (there is no large scale farm here) and pizza allows us to take advantage of sporadic bumper crops. Most growers here don’t work with restaurants because they can not offer the volume needed, but I’m trying to strike a deal that I will buy whatever they have and work it into my menu. It’s a work in progress.

    As far a healthy pizza we do offer a range- we have vegan, gluten free, and paleo options – which is more than can be said for most pizza shops in our area.

Tiny House Blog: PIZZA PI - Where The Coconuts Grow - February 7, 2015 Reply

[…] Click over to my article on Tiny House Blog to see all the photos and hear their story… click HERE. […]

Visit Pizza Pi, the USVI Pizza boat - Open for new Season | Rockhoppin' Adventures - November 15, 2015 Reply

[…] You can check out their menu here. Stay tuned, we hear they will be announcing an exciting new menu next week. Read the full story of Pizza Pi here. […]

Norm - November 21, 2015 Reply

Incredible. Like nothing I have ever seen. Great job putting that together.

Couple Quits Job, Opens Floating Pizzeria in the Virgin Islands - June 16, 2016 Reply

[…] to Tiny House Blog, their oven can make four pizzas every 15 minutes. Not quite Neopolitan fast, where a hot pizza […]

10 Tantalizing Facts About Pizza | Friday News - October 10, 2017 Reply

[…] Tara designed, renovated, and built the boat herself. Besides the wind in her sails, the boat is powered by a Perkins 4.236 engine. A menu hangs down its side, listing Plain Jane, Mad Shroom, and Sweet Home pizzas, among other fare, and their respective prices, as well as pies made to order. Although the boat never docks, there’s a window through which transactions can occur between Pizza Pi and customers’ boats, and the couple delivers within the confines of Christmas Cove.[7] […]

10 Tantalizing Facts About Pizza – Viral Plus - October 13, 2017 Reply

[…] Tara designed, renovated, and built the boat herself. Besides the wind in her sails, the boat is powered by a Perkins 4.236 engine. A menu hangs down its side, listing Plain Jane, Mad Shroom, and Sweet Home pizzas, among other fare, and their respective prices, as well as pies made to order. Although the boat never docks, there’s a window through which transactions can occur between Pizza Pi and customers’ boats, and the couple delivers within the confines of Christmas Cove.[7] […]

10 Tantalizing Facts About Pizza – motile-car - October 17, 2017 Reply

[…] Photo credit: wherethecoconutsgrow.com […]

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