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Old Town: The Haunted Portland Pizzeria

July 1, 2013


Old Town: The Haunted Portland Pizzeria

Target: Pepperoni Pizza, Sausage and Mushroom Pizza, Garlic Knots and Salad, Mac and Cheese
Drink: Old Town Brewery Irish Red
Damage to Wallet: Affordable (See Below)

Guest of Honor: Colleen

On a trip to Portland, Oregon we made a point to check out the most famous pizza place in town. Old Town Pizzeria and Brewery has an interesting history. Located in what was once a lobby of a hotel in Portland’s historic Chinatown District. Apparently people used to go missing in the area and taken through hidden tunnels eventually to be sold into slavery. A brave young woman attempted to escape and alert authorities. She was found at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the hotel. Haunted pizza, that is a new one for me.

Despite the grim backstory, Old Town pumps out some truly inspired food. We ended up going twice during our trip, and I thought I would include both trips in this post.

Target: Pepperoni Pizza, Sausage and Mushroom Pizza, Garlic Knots and Salad, Mac and Cheese

Old Town starts out with locally sourced flour and dough they make throughout the day. The result is a robust crust that is surprisingly light and chewy. The sauce is a little on the sweet side but compliments the hardy crust well.

The Pepperoni Pie comes out with the edges of the little pepperonis curled to the sky. Always a great sign in my book. With all of the low level pepperoni that gets delivered in boxes across the country, it is easy to forget why this topping became so popular. The first bite brought it all back for me. The little pepperonis had a touch of heat to them that instantly cut through the sweetness of the sauce. Awesome pie.

The Sausage and Mushroom pizza also brought the noise. Giant chunks of fennel infused sausage handle the sweet sauce with ease. Thin cut fresh mushrooms bring the flavors together in a fugue that I would retire to if it was possible.

The Garlic Knots are huge. Out of proportion huge. Good thing they were excellent. Doughy knots with a hint of garlic, when the quality of ingredients and preparation are at this level, there is no need to over complicate it. Think Joe Torre managing the 90’s Yankees saying twenty five words a game.

Salad was basic fresh greens served with a homemade dressing. I went with Blue Cheese. It was a little thin, with generous chunks of cheese. Overall excellent. Sad to report not a crouton to be had.

The Mac and Cheese was based on a penne like pasta with a cheddar sauce. They add some flavored breadcrumbs and toss it right in with the pizzas until it browns up. All of the food at Old Town was excellent, but I was most surprised by this dish. I don’t usually like Mac and Cheese served at restaurants. This time I couldn’t stop stealing noodles from Colleen. Creamy, cheesy and perfectly seasoned with the breadcrumbs it was an unexpected treat.

Drink: Old Town Brewery Irish Red

A local beer that has the familiar notes of an Irish Red, but not so overbearing so a beer wimp like me could enjoy it. Seriously when it comes to craft beer chops, I rank somewhere between the demographic for the magazine Tiger Beat and a Chia pet. And I still liked it.

I also posted the OTB Pilsner that Colleen ordered. Also good.

Damage to Wallet: Affordable

The Pizza’s were less than $14 each, the Garlic Knots were less than $6 and the Mac and Cheese was around $11. Beers were about $5. Salad came free. This paid for two full meals.

Final Verdict: Fun atmosphere, great food and drink, and an interesting sense of history. If you find yourself in Portland don’t be afraid to venture to Chinatown to grab some classic pizzeria fair.












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