Metalheads who drive Chevy Cavaliers have long been the unsung heroes of the American pizza industry. Some guys in Austin figured that out 20 years ago, opening a place called Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza, where those long-haired dudes could blare thrash metal as part of their shtick. That formula—late nights, loud metal, New York-sized slices—eventually made its way out to Tulsa’s Heavy Metal Pizza and Detroit’s Pizzallica.
Portland got its own rock-’n’-roll pizza parlors, with pinball and general weirdness on top, when Sizzle Pie and Lonesome’s opened in 2010. Now, Southeast Division Street gets Atlas Pizza, which keeps earlier hours and favors esoteric bluesman Abner Jay, but which channels the same vibe through three pinball cabinets and old gig posters for Dead Moon and High On Fire.
And the pizza? Well, it’s pretty good, too. Nothing fancy—medium-thick crust with a piquant marinara and gobs of salty mozzarella—but satisfying, especially since it’s selling the only cheap slices on a six-block stretch of Division that will soon have four other pizza joints, all swankier than Atlas.
Atlas’ owners also run Dot’s, the Clinton Street rocker bar, and hired Sean Croghan, probably best known from his grunge-era punk band Crackerbash but with time spent at Escape From New York Pizza on Northwest 23rd Avenue. Slices are always available ($3.25 for cheese, 25 cents for each additional topping), and get tossed back in the oven for a minute before coming out with a crispy bottom that bends but won’t quite fold.
You can build your own pie, but the house’s creations are interesting and mostly seem to work. My favorite was the Sluzrenko ($14 for 12 inches, $26 for 18), named roughly for one of Croghan’s bandmates, which has pepperoni, wee bits of pineapple and big pieces of jalapeño. I’m not usually a fan of Hawaiian pies, but slices of sweet and hot mesh very well here. Anything with the housemade sausage, which is a little spicy and served in generous crumbles, is also a good bet. Both salads—garden and Caesar, each $4—were crisp and topping-heavy, just the way they should be.
drink, you’ve got beer and pop, both offered on two tiers. The fountain
pours the Royal Crown soda line, but Limonata, Sioux City sarsaparilla
(yeah, that’s a good one) and Stewart’s Key lime are offered on the
“Fancy Pops” menu. Same goes for beer: Three craft beers are on tap for
$4.50, or you can grab a $2 tall boy of Tecate, Rainer, Oly or PBR, just
like the delivery dude drinks.
GO: Atlas Pizza, 3570 SE Division St., 232-3004, facebook.com/atlaspizzaportland. 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.