Heading towards Qixingtan Beach on Zhongmei Road, you can always smell the fragrance of pizza coming from the restaurant "Summer Too Hot." Upon approaching, you will see the restaurant owner, Terry, kneading the dough. His signature dish is the handmade freshly baked vegetarian pizza, including several flavors such as Italian, pesto, and Mexican. He also sells outstanding cinnamon rolls. You can enjoy delicious, hot and freshly-baked pizza after just about fifteen minutes.
Terry, from Oklahoma, USA, once worked as a journalist in the United States. He loves the freedom that nature provides. At that time, he wanted to see Asia, so he came to Hualien, Taiwan. This stay has now lasted more than 16 years.
The origin of the restaurant name is hilarious, because it was named after none other than the boss, Terry Sommers. “Terry” sounds like "too hot" in Chinese, which is fitting because he thinks that Taiwan is really hot in summer. Such a name cannot but make people smile.
As a freedom-loving soul, he loves DIY, and has made everything from the stone and wood ornaments in the restaurant to the pizza oven outside the restaurant, building them one by one with his hands. You may have a chance to see Terry stepping outside on a self-made wheat mill modified from an abandoned bicycle, which makes interesting clicking sounds. He insists on making pizza with whole wheat flour. "Not only is it healthy but also gives the pizza a unique wheat flavor," he says.
Terry's life is simple, driving the foot-powered wheat grinder and picking up wood for the wood-fired oven. If something breaks, he repairs it. In his eyes, there is nothing that can’t be repaired. He is indifferent to fame or gain. When he first arrived in Hualien, he found this place very quiet, not crowded, and slow-paced. He was amazed with the sea and mountains, a scenery unlike his hometown. Terry likes to cycle and slowly rides to Meilun market to buy ingredients in the morning. He often rides to Qixingtan Beach and Meilun Mountain. He frequently goes to the library to read as well.
With his pair of strong, sinewy hands, Terry intently kneads the dough, smears homemade pizza sauce, spreads fresh ingredients and cheese, and then uses a homemade pizza peel to send it into the oven and wait for it to come out. He insists on hand-made recipes, chooses natural ingredients, and treats everything attentively, just like his attitude toward life – simple, natural, and satisfaction with life.
Summer Too Hot
Address: 1, Zhongmei Rd., Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan (R.O.C.) (besides the stinky tofu under the banyan tree)
Opening Hours: 12:00-19:00 (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)