Ranch pizza began mysteriously, suddenly popping up at the beer bars around Southeast Division Street, delivered from a mystery kitchen. When we asked at one beer bar where the pizza was coming from, they wouldn't even tell us—they wanted it all to themselves.

At Pie Harder on Tuesday, August 29, the Ecliptic Brewing patio will fill with six pizza ovens baking up deep-dish pies you've never see—meatball-stuffed Motor City slices, basil-and-tomato bruschetta slices, and meaty, giardiniera-topped Chicago-style slices.

Ranch will also be making a rare non-weekend appearance at Pie Harder—and making a rarely seen mac-and-cheese pizza. We asked them all about it.


What pizza(s) will you be serving at Pie Harder?

We are serving a mac and cheese pizza. Mac and cheese on pizza is about as non-traditional as it gets. We wanted to do a pie that was a little over the top. Pizza is comfort food for us, and this pie combines two essential comfort foods in a cheesy (pun) kind of way.

What makes for a good pizza?
It's about the dough/crust, first and foremost. I think most pizza makers would agree. The ultimate test for a good pizzeria is always the plain cheese pie, or even a margherita or marinara (just sauce, no cheese).

What was your favorite pizza parlor when you were a kid?
My favorite pizza growing up was Papa's Pizza in Eugene. It wasn't what most pizza nerds would call "good pizza" but I loved it. The giant pizza parlor was the go-to spot after high school football games and for birthday parties as a kid. I think their dough came in sheets. They used a thick, pasty tomato sauce and piled the toppings high. They had the taco pizza with refried beans as the sauce and crushed tortilla chips on top. I still go back there when I'm in town.

Where do you get a slice around Portland, when not at your own shop?
We like a lot of spots around Portland. Tastebud is one of my favs, and they're our buds because we share a commissary kitchen. Lovely's 50/50 is always great, and Baby Doll is a newer fav. There's great pizza variety in Portland, and we like trying them all.

Pie Harder will offer up deep-dish pie slices from Baby Doll, Ex Novo, East Glisan, Pizza Jerk, Ranch and Via Chicago, plus sweet pie from Baker & Spice, Petunia's Pies and Pastries, and Ecliptic. It will take place later this month, at Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N. Cook St., 503-265-8002, eclipticbrewing.com. 5-9 pm. $27. Tickets at bit.ly/Pieharder.