written by Julie Lee | photo by Open Habit
So if Portland is the best food city in America, according to The Washington Post, when dining out, the problem in Portland could be too many choices instead of too few. But then again, maybe not. Portland may be the only city where multiple wood-fired oven pizza joints can open within ninety days of each other and all succeed heartily. Here are five of our favorites…today*.
Red Sauce Pizza
Don’t let the upside down pizza sign fool you, this new kid on the block is legit. Shar Dues knows what she’s doing. She started making pizza in her teens and has been perfecting the art since. Her recent stint at Apizza Scholls honed her skill, and when Bob’s Rocket Pizza closed after four decades, she seized the opportunity to launch a place of her own. Simple décor done by friends and family, simple ingredients and a simple customer-first philosophy result in a simply divine experience. Her sauce? A hands-down favorite. Her caesar salad is #1 in our book. Let’s just say that while there for lunch, we also ordered dinner, to go.
4935 NE 42nd Ave. | redsaucepizza.com
Dear budding Portland restaurant owner, if you start as either a farm or a food cart, odds are weighted toward success. Another newcomer across town did both. Tastebud started as a farm, grew its following as a kickass food cart, then opened to a hungry crowd waiting in line from day one. The wait continues, and it’s worth it. Our favorite is the Autunno, with pork sausage, kale, pears and mozzarella.
7783 SW Capitol Hwy. | tastebudpdx.com
Life of Pie
You had us at all-day happy hour. One of the things the grandfather of the current wood-fired movement in Portland (Apizza Scholls) did besides raise the bar for pizza is raise the price. So when we can get great wood-fired for a great deal, we squeal. Such is the case with Life of Pie. Dine-in happy hour stretches from 11a.m. opening to 6 p.m., and for a mere Lincoln, you can get a full-size perfect Margherita to pair with a $3 (decent) house wine or a $3 microbrew. Life of Pie’s house-made, hand-pulled mozzarella wins our cheese category.
3632 N. Williams Ave. | lifeofpiepizza.com
Eat Proper Pie ‘n Burger
We’re not just including a food cart for Portlandia’s sake, but because it tops on our list. Eat Proper Pie ‘n Burger nails the perfect balance of chewy charred crust, interesting ingredients (truffle oil, rosemary and portabellas) and price. A 10-inch cheese pizza is just $7, a pepperoni is just $9. Located on its own misfit food cart island outside of Montgomery Park, it’s worth the drive and the wait (each pizza is made to order, one at a time.) FYI – the burgers and twice-fried fries are incredible, too.
2034 NW 27th Ave | properpieandburger.com
Big O’s Wood Fired Pizza
What we love about Big O’s, besides the fact that it ups the ante in the lackluster Beaverton restaurant scene, is that we get choices. Want just a slice? That’ll be $3.50. A 9-inch will run you around $9, whereas, if you want the whole meal deal, an 18-inch will cost $26 but feed your crew.
12305 SW Broadway St., Beaverton | bigospizza.com
*To our friends at P.R.E.A.M., Oven & Shaker, Pizza Jerk, Ash Woodfired Pizza, Pizzuti’s Wood Fired Pizza, Handsome Pizza, and Ken’s Artisan Pizza, we promise to circle back and go at this again, on a different day.
Red Sauce delivers perfectly charred pizza that tastes wood-fired, while done in an electric oven. We apologize for the error.