Wednesday morning, Bloomberg Food Editor Kate Krader published around 1,500 words This will inevitably upset New Yorkers and create a microcosm of food vitriol that absorbs part of Twitter for at least 24 hours: after Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, the authors of the celebrated modernist Cookbooks (Modernist cuisine, modernist bread) have named Portland America’s best pizza town. “(Myhrvold) names two 15-year-old artisanal pizzerias, izza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza, which have set the standard for aspiring Pizzialos [sic]”, Writes Krader, but the two cooks – who are currently working on their upcoming book, Modernist Pizza – cannot attribute the success of the city’s cake to these two long-time pizza makers. „Portland pizzerias … offer gourmets in a variety of styles, from New York-style pies at Scottie’s Pizza Parlor to Neapolitan pizzas at Nostrana to creative pizzas made from ingredients at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty,” says the article.
While many on the internet will view this conclusion as bogus – even unlikely – there is a precedent for such an opinion. Roberta’s alum Anthony Falco, who has referred to himself as an “international pizza consultant” since leaving the legendary New York pizzeria, named Portland the largest pizza town in the country as early as 2018. Falco’s argument at the time was more directly related to qualities typical of the Pacific Northwest, if not specifically Portland: Falco attributed the city’s success to its access to local produce and high-quality flours that were ground nearby and that used many of the Pizzaiolos’ many Led the city to success.
Pizza lovers in Brooklyn and New Haven are likely to be furious in their corners of the country, mad that anyone could even suggest that the crispy, slow plebes in the top left understand what it means to make good pizza, let alone surpass the big boys in the art of the disc. We’ve seen it before: every time people make a claim on Portland’s culinary scene (without claiming it is the best vegan city in the country – nobody denies that), opinions split between „Look at these little guys!” And „Why in the world does a city this size play among the real American cities?”
In all honesty, Portland has an abundance of extraordinary pizzerias, with chefs who moved here after working in some of the most notable pizzerias and restaurants in the country. Tommy Habetz, the owner of the popular Cully salon Pizza Jerk, worked for Bobby Flay for some time before moving to Portland. The consistently underrated Gracie’s izza, which deserves to be mentioned by the Modernist Men, comes from Craig Melillo, who grew up eating in New Haven and worked for the bustling Ops in Brooklyn. Not to mention, Portland is home to experts in dough and Italian food: Ken Forkish, owner of Ken’s Artisan Pizza, is the author of James Beard Award Winner Books about bread and pizza making, Flour water salt yeast and the Elements of pizza. And Cathy Whims, the owner of the Italian mainstay Nostrana, studied with an iconic Italian chef Marcella Hazan and is a Leader on her own behalf in the world of contemporary Italian cuisine.
Where Portland compares to other cities, on the other hand, is irrelevant. Portland is Not New York. As guests and cooks, we value different things. Portland isn’t a city with hundreds of slice shops; In fact, the slice culture barely survived the Portland pandemic. Trying to define the specific style of the city Pizza would be difficult aside from thick, multigrain crusts with seasonal vegetables – and yet some of the best pizzerias in town don’t even come close to baking this shape. Those looking for spicy, multi-faceted crusts – thick or thin, soft or crispy, sourdough or seeded – will find them here, often made from non-white flour ground just a few hours south of Portland (flour from Camas Country Mill is ubiquitous in Portland). . You can find a range of styles from the Detroit style at Assembly Brewing to the Chicago tavern style at Jerry’s or Bridge City. You’ll find pizzerias that proudly forego tradition, like the ranch-accompanied pies at Ranch Pizza, and pizzerias that often try new things, like the specials at Red Sauce. On the other hand, there are probably many cities in the country that do this – even if a journalist, international pizza consultant or award-winning cookbook author has not noticed it yet.
Here’s the thing: Portlanders don’t care. We don’t care if you think we’re great and we don’t care if you think we’re rubbish. If anything, we resent the way people talk about Portland like it’s an outsider, whether it’s a guest chef talking about his restaurants with condescending enthusiasm or a snappy commentator who denies the presence of the Questions the city on any national stage. What is special about Portland as a culinary city, or as a city in general, is the simple fact that we are not interested in anyone’s opinions, especially on the East Coast; The chefs who move here come to Portland to cook without pressure, with access to a better quality of life (daily hikes! Swimming spots! Camping! A backyard!) And closer to the ingredients (Willamette Valley fruits! Columbia River salmon! Painted Hills.) Beef! Portland vegetables!). Without the weight of Michelin stars or a dissatisfied audience, people can just cook. If there’s any reason our culinary scene is interesting or special in any way, it’s its ease – the way people may or may not experiment, and cook in a way that is relaxed and honest.
So, yes, our pizza is good. If you live in Portland you probably know this; On the other hand, if you’ve moved here from Manhattan or Chicago or New Haven, you may have an overwhelming sense of nostalgia that is keeping you from enjoying the pizza that is out here. That’s fine – these pizzerias will continue to produce cakes no matter who is paying attention.
• The best pizza town in America is Portland, Oregon [B]
• Sorry, New York: International Pizza Consultant named Portland America’s Best Pizza City Best [EPDX]
Correction: Corrected this story to show that Camas Country Mill is south of Portland as opposed to „right across the river”.