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Feb 26, 2009 10:50 AM

My New Favorite Pizza! Portland

Having come from NYC I was dismally disappointed in Portland pizza. Then I found Gladstone Coffee in SE....they make the best pizza. The taste of it transports me back home!
Anyone else love this place?

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  1. I've not even heard of it. Please tell more.
    Precisely what PDX pizza places have "dismally disappointed" you?
    I can think of several that I love, but I'm curious to hear which ones you've tried so I can know your taste.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Sorry it took so long to reply. Gladstone Coffee is at 3813 SE Gladstone.
        The pizza I have had here ranges from the Roventes (?), Escape from NY, Pizza Roma and of course the horrid Pizza Hut and Dominoes. My favorite NY pizza is a place called Smilies Pizza on 9th ave in Brooklyn.

        18 Replies
        1. re: rosiepik

          Puzzled how PH or Dominoes could even enter the discussion here, this being Portland not Bismark N Dakota. Oh well...

          My faves in no particular order are Dove Vivi, Apizza Scholls, Ken's Artisan Pizza, and Al Forno Ferruzza.

          1. re: Leonardo

            PH or Dominos. I agree they hardly even qualify as pizza. However, I would not turn up my nose at fast food just on principle. I used to love White Castle burgers....

            1. re: Leonardo

              Footnote to Al Forno Ferruzza: went there today. Although the pizza was wonderful, they need to figure out their oven timings. Was told it would take 20 minutes, and it was twice that. No apology.
              [Well put, nkeane.]

              1. re: Leonardo

                Originally from New York myself, I have to say that there is no place in Portland that does a really good New York slice. There are, however, many places that do an excellent artisanal pie or Italian style pie. Apizza Scholls and Ken's are the two most popular, but I am friends with the Ferruzza's and I love going there. True, they can have a hard time if they are too busy, but they are the real thing. My new discovery, and I don't even know the name, is the cart on 12th and Hawthorn, open late, with a real brick oven in a truck! They are actually really really good. (and not just because it's 2:30 in the morning)

                1. re: StarkRaving

                  That's Pyro Pizza at the Hawthorne cart pod, and it's from the same folk(s?) who run the Give Pizza a Chance cart Downtown at Stark & 5th. I haven't tried Pyro yet, but Give Pizza a Chance is always a must-eat for me when I'm Downtown during lunch hours.

                  I'm originally from Newark, NJ, and a bit of a 'pizza snob' myself. But once I got over my preference for cheesy and greasy shortly after I got here, I really came to appreciate many Portland pizzas. Still haven't tried Escape From NY over the years, but it's certainly on my list to try eventually.

                  I really enjoy Tastebud's slices from the Eastbank Farmers' Market at SE 20th & Salmon every summer, but I've never been to their restaurant. And I'm gonna second (third? fourth?) the original poster's comment about Gladstone Pizza - I live a block away, and their pizza is probably my favorite in Portland (haven't been to Apizza Scholl's or Ken's yet, though).

                  Sadly, Gladstone stopped selling pizza by the slice a few months back, to focus more on restaurant-style service. Still definitely worth a night out for, though. They always have a few good local craft brews on tap, as well.

                  Wy'east Pizza (another cart) on SE 50th a block or two up from Powell is another one to try. They just opened up again for the season this week, and they only sell 22 pizzas a night (by the 12-inch pie - the limit is due to making their dough from scratch every day and cooking every pie to order), so best to be there early (I think their hours are 4:30 - 9:30, Tues - Sat), but they're another great relatively recent addition to Portland's pizza scene, too.

                  That being said, I always look forward to the occasional visit to family and friends back east, so I can enjoy a slice or four from Queen Pizza on Halsey Street in Newark. :)

                  1. re: JayinPortland

                    Tastebud does an all you can eat $15 Sunday special - they continually bring out about 6 kinds of pies (meat and veggie, usually 3 of each), and two different kinds of salads. Nice way to try several of their pies and a couple of salads in one visit.

                    I go most often to Ferruzza (but I usually have a calzone, I love that ricotta) or Apizza Scholls when I want pizza, but I haven't been to Ken's yet. Firehouse, the rustic Italian restaurant up on Dekum also does a nice thin crust pizza. I like Dove VIvi too, but it's a different animal - a thick (crisp and delicious) cornmeal crust pizza more like a Chicago deep dish.

                    Need to try Pyro and Wy'east...

                    1. re: JillO

                      Ken's Artisan Bakery does pizza night, if that's more convenient for you.

                  2. re: StarkRaving

                    Just tried for the first time Pyro Pizza (of the Give Pizza a Chance people) at the Hawthorne cart pod. Loved it. But I was put off and puzzled by the drizzling of olive oil on it just before serving. Next time I'll know to head that off.

                2. re: rosiepik

                  Yes, I agree, the Gladstone has fine fine pizza. Straight up, I know the proprietors. nevertheless the pizza here aspires to go toe to toe with any other pie in town. It delivers and belongs on the list....apizza scholls, kens, and so on. An emphasis on top notch ingredients...skilled execution. Elegant and balanced. Skip the wait, be in the know.

                  1. re: fife2112

                    I tried this place--it's in my 'hood as it turns out--the other night. I was pleasantly surprised. I would certainly go back (though they didn't get my order correct). The overall balance was good...the crust was quite good (yes, lots of trendy char, but without being scorched or burnt like that place on Hawthorne), the sauce was tangy with a slight touch of sweetness and the cheese was ok, not sure what it was, but might have been a fresh mozzarella, on my margherita, it should have been, whatever it was, it worked (there wasn't much of it, and it was clearly shredded finely, and it blended in with the sauce, so it was hard to determine what it was). Fresh basil added just the right flavor component. One thing is the toppings on offer are a bit strange overall, but I can live with that considering how close it is. There was no wait at all, so the hassle factor is low, unlike some of the hipper pizza joints around the SE side. All things considered, I'd rate it along side Ken's (remember, hassle quotient is factored in here), but not quite as good as Nostrana. My pizza taste buds began forming when my pop started making it from scratch in about 1962, no, exactly 1962, and were honed with a long stretch in NYC in the 1970s...I've had pizza all over Italy, and in the legendary New Haven places...and can make some pretty decent pizza at home (one food snob friend who did his Master's at Yale in New Haven says mine is the best he's ever had), so I have some basis for my opinions.

                    Oh, I will say the ambience in this place sucks, well, it doesn't suck really because that would imply there is ambience. There isn't.... in fact, it is almost painful to be in this really awful space...wouldn't take much to fix it, and if they hope to attract and hold a customer base, they need to fix that...Or just really burn the crap out of it...people on this side of town line up for that!!!! No dried oregano, dried basil flakes (as I was once offered at the Forno Ferruzza cart last summer at the height of basil season), and no sign of MSG, thank god....

                    1. re: sambamaster

                      I'm surprises you didn't like the ambience. I love sitting outside in the back, outdoors away from the street, it's soooo peaceful and pretty.

                      1. re: sambamaster

                        Just tried the place out, on account of this thread and it being in my former neck of the woods in SE PDX.

                        I don't get your harsh criticism of the ambience there. It's a little pizza joint. What do you want? I'm just happy not to see/hear a blaring t.v. and video games (Yeah, I'm talking to you, sycophants of Apizza Scholls). It's a little neighborhood establishment with rustic furniture. Geez.

                        As for the pizza: not bad, and with a lot of tasty sauce. Bites of the crust were good, although others tasted like motzah-bread dough. I did find it very good and chewy left over and cold the next morning). I do find, however, being charged for cheese as a topping to be tres beat, particularly given the base price. Also ordered with anchovies, and was disappointed in the paucity of said fishies (about 1.5 per piece of pie); I like to be able to taste anchovies in every bite -- rather than just one or two -- of each pieceof pizza.

                        Service was good and friendly. And they have a few good beers on tap.

                        I might try it again, but if this is considered amongst the best 'za in PDX, then I'm going to commit seppuku with a pizza cutter.

                        The best pizzas I've had in Portland recently are Hometown Pizza (SE 72, just north of Woodstock; take-out/delivery and cash-only) and Rocco's Pizza, kitty-corner to Powell's Books, downtown. The former has tasty, well-topped pies, and while the latter hasn't any atmosphere to speak of, it is in an excellent location for biblio/chowphiles and has very tasty and large slices.

                        Once upon a time, when it dressed so fine, Bridgeport Brewery had good pizza, but I hear they've revamped their food offerings for the worse.

                        1. re: Dr Chow

                          "....... and Rocco's Pizza, kitty-corner to Powell's Books, downtown."


                          nuf said.

                          1. re: nkeane


                            Have you ever had Rocco's pizza? And if it is so horrendous, please do give the details. Otherwise, why so derisive a response without explaining yourself?

                            Really your derisiveness says it all.

                            1. re: Dr Chow

                              Agreed. It would be nice to have a specific criticism. As written, nkeane, you sound as if one of the waitresses cuckolded you.

                              1. re: MichaelG

                                Greasy, horrible uncooked flour taste to the "crust", toppings that were either sourced from a deli's dumpster or on special from FSA/Sysco....Is that specific enough for you? Seriously, having Rocco's fall out of your mouth(fingertips?) when discussing edible food would be bad, when discussing the BEST pizza in portland, it's worthy of much more derision than I gave it.

                                P.S. I would rather a waitress perform said unnatural act upon my person, than eat one more slice of Rocco's "pizza" ever again.

                                1. re: nkeane

                                  Agree completely. I'm flabbergasted that Rocco's is even mentioned on this thread.

                                  1. re: nkeane

                                    Thanks for the specific info, nkeane. It seems that some people like to criticize places based on reputation and not personal experience, and it sounds like you have had the latter.

                                    BTW, cuckolding would mean the waitress would have performed said act on another man, while she was your "girlfriend." But fortunately, that didn't happen to you. Whew!

                    2. Id be willing to check it out, thanks!
                      As a transplant from South Jersey, I feel your pain. If you get a chance, Tributes (2272 NW Kearney St) has a great slice. They bring in pizza dough and Amoroso rolls from Philly.

                      1. Some of my new favorite pies are at Tastebud (3220 SE Milwaukie, Portland, OR 97202). It's the restaurant of the guy with the wood oven at the PSU Farmer's Market. I think his crust achieves wonderful crunch and chew and he uses nicely balanced high quality toppings in unique combination.
                        For those in Vancouver, check out NYC Pizzeria (700 Se Chkalov Dr, #1, Vancouver, WA, 98683). To me, it;s a typical delicious NYC pie, but he has some unique options: fresh serranos, ginger, and cilantro that are part of a "punjabi" pie.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Djumbie

                          Seems Yelpers have discovered my favorite haunt and they are so much better at describing just what makes this place so good. It is continually growing and expanding yet remains true to its pizza.