“Whatever You Want to Call It, the New Jersey Pork Roll Is Having Its Portland Breakfast Sandwich Moment.” That was the WW food headline March 31, 2021, and not long after the story came out, the two pop-ups that featured the dish—Dimo’s SPK and Lamotta’s Handmade—quietly disappeared.
But Portland’s love of the breakfast meat also known as Taylor Ham cannot be killed quite so easily. Philly-centric cart Moore Food & Co., which opened two days after that story ran, still serves a Taylor pork roll and American cheese as a lunch sandwich—no egg, just more slices of meat.
And because the spirit of Portlandia cannot be killed, we also have, you guessed it: an artisan pork roll. Southeast Division Street food cart Ruthie’s sometimes makes its own and, as of late last fall, so does Olympia Provisions in collaboration with former Bon Appétit video dude Brad Leone.
That roll, described on the label as “a uniquely perfect breakfast meat,” looks the part and will set you back $45 for 20 ounces in the shop; you get pasture-raised pork from small Oregon farms instead of factory-tortured swine, plus the curing agent is Swiss chard powder rather than sodium nitrite.
It’s also very good, though Moore Food co-owner Tom Amick doesn’t sound too interested in trying it. “If it isn’t wrapped in burlap with ‘Taylor Provisions’ stamped on it, it ain’t pork roll.”
In July, Portland’s pizza scene went viral after a Bloomberg article previewing Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya’s three-volume Modernist Pizza proclaimed Portland the “Best Pizza City in the United States.” The book, which came out in October, highlighted Apizza Scholls, Ken’s Artisan, Scottie’s, Sizzle Pie, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Handsome Pizza and Red Sauce, as well as the since-departed Crown and Checkerboard.
What’s incredible is that Portland has just kept gaining solid pizza joints since then. There’s Pizza Thief and Pizza Kat, both of which use Pacific Northwest flour and naturally leavened dough.
What was briefly Pizza Doughnais, in Brooklyn, is now Meta Pizza, from former Ración chef Anthony Cafiero. Wood-fired restaurant Ned Ludd is now Cafe Olli, which uses the space’s brick oven to make two different styles of pizza for lunch and dinner.
And we can’t leave out the Precious Pizza food cart (square nonna-style) and Pacific Crust in the old Crown space—plus the planned return of Checkerboard, which Sizzle Pie owner Matt Jacobson purchased from Ken Forkish.
You can eat pizza in Portland once a week for two months without getting bored or disappointed. Not only do you no longer need a plane ticket to New Haven or New York—you barely need to walk more than a few blocks.
See all 25 Reasons to Love Portland here!