February 23rd, 2011 | by BEN WATERHOUSE Food & Drink |

Ten Great Pizzas Portland Monthly Missed

pizza contadinoIMAGE: vivianjohnson.com

Portland Monthly purports, in the magazine's March issue, to have discovered the 32 greatest pizzas in Portland. While Karen Brooks' top picks (Apizza Scholls, Ken's Artisan, Nostrana, etc.) are solid, the list, compiled by a handful of PM staffers and PDX writers, starts to break down towards the end: Hot Lips? Awesome corporate culture, over-rated pizza. Mississippi Pizza? You're there for the music, not the pie. Pizza Schmizza? Flying Pie? Old Town? Oh, come on.

Here are ten pizza places we think Brooks Portland Monthly missed. Have one to add? Leave it in the comments.

Atomic Pizza
2150 N Killingsworth St., 285-5490, atomic-pizza.com.
Every real neighborhood needs a pizza joint. And though Portland is far from replicating New York City’s shop-on-every-street-corner scene, Atomic Pizza is a good hangout spot for anyone in the Overlook Village ’hood. Everything about Atomic Pizza has a Portland vibe, from pies named things like “Yellow Line” and “Hwy 99” to the toppings, which range from veggie faves like the “Alberta” (a large pesto, mushroom, artichoke heart and sun-dried tomato pizza for $20.40) to gut-busting meat assaults (the aptly named “Paul Bunyan” stacks four kinds of meat on one slice). Though the shop does takeout pies, it’s best to enjoy a slice ($2.95 for cheese, $3.95 for the daily special) and a pint at the cozy bar before heading out for the night. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER.

Pizza Contadino (pictured)
Corner of North Richmond at North Lombard Street, 935-4375, pizzacontadino.blogspot.com
"On one visit, the “fancy meat” option (cooked on site in about 10 minutes) included housemade sausage rich with fennel, thick-cut mushrooms and stringy kale that tasted fresh and untreated—nothing here is oversalted or overcooked. That’s an aesthetic you notice before you even order—the cart’s hand-scrawled dry-erase-board menu and hanging baskets of veggies in its front window, not to mention the patchy-bearded, Kerouac-ian figure behind the counter, are all giveaways. But it takes more than fresh veggies to make a killer slice, and Contadino’s crust, made from a sourdough starter dating back to the 1890s, isn’t the cracker-thin variation found in many woodfire eateries—it’s the perfect balance of chewy and crispy, doused with a bright, pepper-speckled sauce." (Read more.)


Pizza Depokos
North Killingsworth Street and Greely Ave., 247-7499, pizzadepokos.blogspot.com.
"Anchoring Refuel Station North is Pizza Depokos, which is not technically a cart at all, having taken up residence, along with its wood-fired oven, in the property’s converted gas station and garage. But it’s all semantics, considering Depokos’ limited space and minimalist kitchen lack only an axle. Regardless, the pizza is damn good, ranging from classic pepperoni to creative specials (like black trumpet mushrooms, lamb, spinach and fontina—eh?), as well as classic Lebanese pies like the spice-and-sesame seed mixture zatar, all between $8 and $12. And it’s the only spot on the lot that accepts plastic, saving you a few bucks in fees at the pod’s ATM." (Read more.)

Pizza Fino
8225 N Denver Ave., 286-2100, pizzafino.com.
"Alberta's Bella Faccia co-owner Linda Zumoff has struck out on her own in the unchartered wilds of Kenton with this hip, friendly pizza and pasta joint. Crisp, thin-crusted pies ($9-$14 12-inch, $16.50-$23 18-inch) are light on sauce but big on freshness, with a near-perfect cheese-to-topping ratio. Choose from 13 tasteful combinations, from simple pepperoni to clams and pecorino, or create your own. Start off with a "small" antipasti plate that would make a decent lunch for one ($6). For variety, there's a full menu of pastas and sandwiches. Now that's-a nice." (Read more.)

Girasole Pizza Company
8438 N Lombard St., 307-5900, sunflowerpizza.blogspot.com.
From our upcoming 2011 Cheap Eats Guide:
"Non parlo italiano, but according to the menu of this new St. Johns pizzeria, girasole means “sunflower.” The name was chosen in part as a nod to the cafe’s pastoral roots: Girasole has operated as a stand on a Sauvie Island farm since last spring, and only opened as a brick-and-mortar restaurant in January. The pizza-making operation’s move from farm stand to storefront just goes to show that you can take the pizzeria out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the pizzeria. Even after being transplanted, Girasole has retained its earthiness. The vegetables are fresh, the service is friendly, and much of the décor, like the old doors that serve as tables, has been resourcefully re-purposed The pizzeria serves Italian-style, thin-crust pies baked, per tradition, in a wood-fired oven. The Queen Margerhita ($7 small, $14 large) is decent, and the bacon, bleu cheese and caramelized onion Mimi ($8 small, $15 large) is good, but if you only try one pie, make it the Thai ($9 small, $16 large); it’s nice and spicy, and the thick peanut sauce tastes as natural as a bucolic day back on the farm."

Gladstone Street Pizza
3813 SE Gladstone St., 775-1537, gladstonecoffee.com.
"By day, John Mitchell and Grace Emanuel’s charming shop serves espresso to the residents of the Gladstone mini-’hood. By night, Mitchell slings the only really great pies to be found south of Powell Boulevard. The menu is wonderfully brief: some beer, some wine, a good Caesar salad ($6.95) and a half-dozen 18-inch combinations of tomato, cheese and super-thin, chewy crust. Order the basic cheese ($17, a steal) or customize your own from the high-quality toppings on order, from Otto’s Canadian bacon to boquerones (marinated white anchovies), for $2.50 apiece. The music is excellent inside, but the huge backyard patio is even better." (Read more.)

The Globe
2045 SE Belmont St., 488-5701, globepdx.com.
From our upcoming 2011 Cheap Eats Guide: "Ever since it underwent an extensive remodel in 2005, this striped building has played host to bad ideas. First a waffle-centric diner, then a Lebanese restaurant that served cheese steaks died here. Now, someone seems to have finally hit upon a winning formula: good pizza, cheap highbrow bar snacks and live music seven nights a week. The pizza is of the California school, Italian by way of Wolfgang Puck. The 14-inch, thin-crusted pies ($12-$15), which are tomato-free more often than not and come topped with speck, chevre or pear (a pepperoni is on offer for traditionalists) make a large meal for one, and will feed two with a salad. I like the arrostito, with mushrooms and roasted pepper. Snacks ($2-$5) include olives, stuffed eggs, salami and pate. Order three for a choose-your-own antipasti adventure." 

Lonesome's Pizza
234-0114, lonesomespizza.com
OK, so we admit we haven't actually tried Lonesome's pizza yet, but the delivery-only late-night crew deserve recognition for quirkiness alone. From the names ("Dolph Lundgren vs. a puma") to the CDs and art by local musicians and artists that go out with every order, Lonesome's is deliberately strange in the classic Portland mode. And if the Yelp consensus is to be believed—yeah, yeah, we know—the pie is pretty good. In fact, maybe we'll order one for dinner...

O'Malley's
6535 SE Foster Road, 777-0495, omalleyspdx.com.
In 2009, this kinda divey, kinda geeky Foster-Powell pub installed a gas-fired oven and started cranking out cheap ($10-$14 for a 14-inch), delicious pizza to go with the bar's consistently top notch slate of Oregon micros. The oven doesn't get quite hot enough for Ken's-style bubbling, but the pizza's easily good enough to hold its own against any delivery outfit in town and most of the fancier restaurant outfits. Pizzaiolo Scott once made me a caramelized onion and bacon pie that I find myself thinking about more often than is probably normal. Go on Mondays if you like a little metal with your margherita. (Read more.)

Portobello
2001 SE 11th Ave., 754-5993, portobellopdx.com.
Aaron Adams' excellent vegan restaurant hired pizza obsessive Will Fain in 2010 to create an all-vegan pizza program. And the pizza is really, really good. As someone with very low tolerance for daiya "cheese", I haven't tried Portobello's faux-cheesy pies, but the white pie I ordered last fall with onions and pine nuts was one of the better pizzas I ate last year. The crust (which is also available in a gluten-free version which, again, I've never tasted) is thin, bubbly and very chewy, really showcasing Fain's perfectionism. (Read more.)

Wy'East
Operating an 800-degree oven in a 35-year-old camper with barely enough room to stand upright sounds crazy. But leave it to a guy named Squish to take the heat and turn it into gold—Wy’east, adorned with a landscape painting and parked in front of a weaving studio just north of Southeast Powell Boulevard, turns out crisp, lightly charred 12-inch pies that are every bit as tasty as the goods at almost any wheel-less pizzeria in town. The paper-thin, slightly sour crusts are charred enough to be offputting to customers raised on Domino’s; if artisan pizza’s your thing, however, you’ll want to eat two. Call in your order ahead of time; Wy’east can only cook one pizza at a time, and the wait tops 40 minutes some nights. (Read more.)
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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