22 November 2021
“You’ve already been initiated into Portland’s pizza,” I told one guest on the Columbia Gorge hiking tour who had eaten Sizzle Pie for lunch (before mentioning company fave Ranch Pizza). “I haven’t!” said another indignantly. I started in on my list of all the many amazing styles of pizza that call Portland home, and felt I couldn’t avoid mentioning one I had just been reading about in Portland Monthly, the newish Dimo’s Apizza, a New Haven alternative to Apizza Scholls. I’m not a person to recommend something I haven’t tried, so this was the first suggestion when I returned back to the bike shop.
Any concerns about not being quite hungry enough for pizza were erased by the smell of the ovens (Dimo’s has both an electric oven and a wood-fired oven; the pizzas start in electric and finish in wood) churning out what has already landed itself in our top-five pizza list in the city.
We started with the Caesar salad, a Caesar I will use from now on by which to judge all salads. With huge little gems salad leaves coated on every side with a perfectly garlicky dressing and absolutely covered with very small breadcrumbs and mounds of hard cheese — it’s mouthwatering and worth visiting the restaurant for only that.
It would, however, be hard to leave without ordering that pizza. We chose the Hail Mary (soppressata, rosemary, Calabrian chili, tomato sauce, tomato confit, castelvetrano olives, garlic confit, lots of cheeses) at the recommendation of the person at the cash register: “I got a job here just so I could get a discount on that pizza.” It was a surprisingly balanced melding of all those competing flavors into one perfect (and yes, fairly spicy) bite after bite. The crust is, of course, the deal here, and delivers its lightness and crispyness along with the chewy flavorful element we expect with New Haven pizza. And: rosemary on pizza has never before been as ideal. A word of caution: the style of pizza is very salty, so double up on the (delicious local) tap water.
While eating, we were treated to the gossiping and excitement of the staff and its neighbors, who seemed to be in that place in early restaurant life where everything seems possible and the chef is open to every collaboration. I expect Doug Miriello, hailing first from Connecticut and more recently from the LA food scene, to be one of those chefs who becomes quickly part of the Portland food gliterati.
Two days later the restaurant was included on the Oregonian’s list of the contenders for best new restaurant of 2020 and 2021; sure sign that it will continue to be recommended by those in the know.
At writing in late November 2021, the restaurant on 701 East Burnside is open Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is indoor and ample outdoor seating, reminiscent of the two businesses who came before, Burnside Brewing and Mikeller.