April 18th, 2007 LIZ CRAIN | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Pizza Fino

Kenton gets a dose of Northeast Alberta-bred pizza fever.

     
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IMAGE: chrisryanphoto.com
Linda Zumoff, co-owner of Northeast Alberta's Bella Faccia Pizzeria, recently opened another reasonably priced, family-friendly restaurant—Pizza Fino, in the up and coming North Portland neighborhood of Kenton. It shares a building with two other familiar Portland businesses outposts: Cup and Saucer and E-San Thai, both of which opened earlier this winter.

There are similarities between Faccia and Fino—pizza by the slice, family-friendly, pretty names. But Fino stands apart with a full menu, full bar, table service and a spacious dining room that includes colorful fused-glass panels and whimsical lamps by Lam Quang of HiiH Gallery.

"I've been in food since I was a teenager. I'm from Brooklyn originally but made my way out West with college in Colorado, and then I worked in the Santa Cruz Mountains as a baker for 11 years in a natural-food store," Zumoff told WW. "That was more hippie-style pizza, though, you know—vegan spread, tempeh on pizzas and all that."

Pizza Fino's pizzas are tossed and topped by Culinary Institute of America-trained head chef Stan Pratnicki. The crusts are dusted with cornmeal and branded with a nice touch of char. And choices of 12-inch or 18-inch-ers include six meat pies, six veggie and even one vegan pie with, yes, marinated tempeh.

Though not overly ambitious, the diverse menu ranges from penne al vodka ($8) and housemade lasagna to grilled prosciutto and asparagus ($6.50) and deep-fried risotto balls ($5). A tomato icon denotes vegan options—of which there are several.

Plans for the future? A weekend Italian brunch with a slew of Benedicts, focaccia French toast and sunny-side-up breakfast pizzas.

Delivery? "It's a possibility once we really become more smooth in-house—maybe we'll do bicycle delivery. But that's a whole 'nother ball of wax insurance-wise, and it also creates issues for how long it takes to get your pie. We'll stick with in-house and to-go for now," says Zumoff.

The dining room, in the back of the building, facing the parking lot, has been packed in recent weeks—but if you're in a hurry, sidle up to the big-windowed pizza bar at the front of the house with a slice and a pint.


8225 N Denver Ave., 286-2100. Dinner 4-10 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $-$$.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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