1. Apizza Scholls
4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-233-1286, apizzascholls.com. 4-8 pm daily. Takeout only.
You could consider Apizza Scholls ground zero for Portland’s rise to prominence as a pizza town. The classic among classics—the one to make sure to scratch off a bucket list of Portland dinners—is the Sausage & Mama, named after the Mama Lil’s Kick Butt pickled goat horn peppers spread across the dough along with sausage served crumble style. It is a wondrous combination.
2. Ken’s Artisan Pizza
304 SE 28th Ave., 503-517-9951, kensartisan.com. 5-9 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 4:30-9 pm Sunday.
Another contender for Portland pizza dominance, Ken’s Artisan serves super-thin-crust pizzas from an 800-degree Le Panyol wood-fired stone oven. Toppings are minimal, in the best way, and the pizzas are best when piled with arugula and paired with a bottle of one of the many stellar wines on offer.
3. Ranch PDX
1760 NE Dekum St., 971-288-5187; 916 NW 21st Ave., 971-202-7324; 2239 SE 11th Ave., 503-265-8118; ranchpdx.com.
Whether or not you believe ranch belongs on pizza, this joint’s Sicilian-style deep dish evolved from being served from a food cart to brick-and-mortars as a direct result of instant popularity. You’re welcome to enjoy an entire pie, which includes the sausage-based cult favorite No. 4 or the aptly named Meat Tornado, but the density of the crust is all but guaranteed to put even the most hardened pizza addict in a coma by the end of just one slice.
3377 SE Division St., 971-269-0457, cicoriapdx.com. 4-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Against all odds, chef Joshua McFadden and baker Daniel Green opened a Midwest-inspired “tavern-style” pizza parlor—inside the former Roman Candle space—during the early days of the pandemic. And it thrived. Cicoria brings quality ingredients to a style of pizza originally meant to be washed down with Schlitz. The flour is freshly milled and regional, the crust is 50% whole wheat, and while it’s crispier than Neapolitan or a foldable New York slice, it’s neither buttery nor greasy like Chicago thin crust.
5. Jerry’s Pizza
At Bear Paw Inn, 3237 SE Milwaukie Ave., jerryspizzapdx.com. 4-9 pm Monday-Thursday, preorder only.
It’s easier to get ahold of Jerry’s Pizza these days than it used to be. That doesn’t mean it’s raining pies, though. Now operating out of the tiny kitchen at the Bear Paw Inn, it’s still a one-man operation. Don’t expect to roll up and order at the bar: Jerry’s holds a ticketed sale once a week. The draw for many of his customers is the taste of home, but even those who didn’t eat Chicago pizza growing up still find something nostalgic about the thin crust, slightly sweet sauce, salty pepperoni, and fennel-tinged sausage.