Portland, Oregon: America’s Pizza City

Breya Bergom |
stone baked
PC: LuAnn Hunt

While New York City is known for its pizza, the best pizza in America lies on the West Coast. Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya trekked across the United States to collect information and data for their upcoming book, Modernist Pizza. The two consumed over 400 pieces of pizza in order to produce their book which will be a three-volume, 1,700 page book.

Overall, Myhrvold and Migoya visited: Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, St. Louis, Old Forge, Penn, New Haven, Jersey City, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. According to Bloomberg, Myhrvold wasn’t surprised that Portland produced decent pizza, but he was surprised at how it compared to others saying, “We had an inkling it would be good, but we were shocked at how good it was.”

new york city
“There are great pizzerias in New York, but unfortunately, one of our other findings was that famous old pizzerias aren’t very good,” states Myhrvold. PC: Iz and Phil

Myhrvold believes that pizzerias with traditional family recipes should be avoided, as they have no “driving creative force trying to make it great.” Unfortunately, this was the case for a lot of pizzerias in New York, with the authors disappointed in the famous old pizzerias.

Besides the underwhelming rave of New York City’s Italian delicacy, there are several pizzerias in Portland that have it chasing New York’s legacy. Myhrvold and Migoya’s top picks within Portland have an amazing blend of owners’ interests, locally grain-based crusts, homemade ingredients, and so much more. Below, Myhrvold and Migoya dig into their favorite pizza picks in Portland that make it a serious contender for the best pizza city in America.

Lovely’s Fifty Fifty

With an astounding 4.5 stars out of nearly 400 reviews on Yelp, Myhrvold and Migoya couldn’t have picked a better pizzeria to represent Portland’s potential. Lovely’s Fifty Fifty makes house-made sausage for the toppings, along with a blend of local ingredients. “She (the baker, Sarah Minnick) almost never puts sauce on the pizza, which means that the cheeses, the vegetables, the different cured meats, they all have to work because there’s no sauce to distract from them,” states Migoya. With little to no sauce, house-made sausage, and other local ingredients, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty is a bold and well known restaurant, and for a good reason.

A pizza from Lovely’s Fifty Fifty consisting of delicata squash, salami cotto, buttered leeks, pistachios, crushed amaretti, and Oregon honey.
PC: Lovely’s Fifty Fifty

Scottie’s Pizza Parlor

Scottie Rivera, the owner of Scottie’s Pizza Parlor, has a routine like no other. Scottie provides two different types of pies; a square Sicilian one and a New York-style round. His routine for his round pizzas consists of doing what most people view as unusual; he bakes them twice. He first bakes it in blistering heat to start cooking the crust. Second, he bakes it at a lower temperature to evenly bake the toppings and crisp the crust. His baking routine seemed to have done the trick, as his restaurant made it into Myhrvold and Migoya’s top eight picks in Portland.

Apizza Scholls

Apizza Scholls specializes in pies with very bold, simple ingredients. Apizza Scholls is known for their three-ingredient rule. The owner, Brian Spangler refuses to put any more than three ingredients, as it can obstruct the baking of their well known chewy, yet crunchy crust.

This pie from Apizza Scholls includes mozzarella, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, and fresh basil. PC: Apizza Scholls

Myhrvold explains that “Best Pizza City” is a “fuzzy concept”, states BloombergFortunately for Portland, with the immense blend of styles and choices, they are no doubt one of the top, if not the top, pizza city in America by Myhrvold and Migoya’s standards.

PC: Sarang Pande

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