There's often a bit of theater in pizzamaking, and at Ken's Artisan you'll find yourself an audience member to an unfolding spectacle.
Around the igloo-shaped oven, the pizziolas toss their dough then shuffle it briskly into and out of the soft orange glow, where the gooey dough hardening into a crust with perfect char, with crispy edges and a pillowy interior.
Owner Ken Forkish is arguably the most talented baker in town so don't plan on leaving a little mountain of pizza bones on your plate—that crust is something to look forward to. There aren't any outrageous toppings here. I recommend the Speck, with supple slices of prosciutto and creamy ricotta that complements the sweetness on the pork.
The chunks of potato were a bit dry, which could've been tempered by adding a base sauce. The soppressata ($13) offers plenty of spice, with Calabrese salami and fragrant basil.
Wine rules with beer lovers relegated to four taps that fortunately pour four distinct styles from four high-quality Oregon breweries. Get some of your pizza to go and save room for the affogato, a Stumptown coffee float with a scoop of nutty, housemade honey vanilla gelato.
Pro tip: Avoid the urge to dive straight into the pies. The warm bacon and peach salad is like a lighter, more refreshing version of a BLT sandwich, with generous chunks of pork featuring caramel notes that enhance the sweet peach and syrupy dressing.
GO: 304 SE 28th Ave., 517-9951, kensartisan.com. 5-10 pm Monday-Saturday,
4-9 pm Sunday. $$.