WITH ITS BROAD APPEAL, pizza is the ultimate brood food. The finicky 5-year-old loves herself some meaty, saucy goodness; the exhausted parent appreciates a culinary genre associated with beer—but not with doing dishes. Whatever army you need to fuel, here are three very different takes the classic family pizza joint.
THE PERFECT PIE: The Old World: pepperoni, salami, olives, roasted peppers, and onions
Portlanders define family many different ways, and there’s room for all in this Woodlawn Triangle rumpus room. The shiny bar and post-industrial décor say hip Portland hangout; the endearingly scruffy game room says, “Welcome back to your parents’ basement” (if your parents owned Big Buck Hunter). Good Neighbor’s 18-inchers come loaded—the Hog Heaven incorporates four kinds of pork—on an old-school, bready crust. The kitchen makes all the right nods to local and sustainable ingredients, but deep down, this is pizza as you’ve always known it. Just really good.
800 NE Dekum St; 503-285-7400
THE PERFECT PIE: The House: pepperoni, salami, and house-made sausage.
The original Old Town reflects its historic neighborhood, with creaky floors and alleged ghosts. The much newer Northeast Portland version is also perfect for its place, in a completely different way: it looks old, but occupies a huge space in a new MLK development and is geared to the new-minted families of North and Northeast. That is to say, they make their pizza with local and organic ingredients, price it cheap (large pies clock in under $25), deliver by bike, and serve up ample quantities of beer and/or soda. If the original expresses the salty soul of old Portland, the Northeast Old Town speaks to the sprightly spirit of the new.
226 NW Davis St; 503-222-9999 & 5201 NE MLK Jr. Blvd; 503-200-5988
THE PERFECT PIE: Spicy Italian sausage on a dense carpet of sautéed greens and Parmesan
Castagna’s casual side doesn’t look stereotypically “family,” but the staff at this modernist box treats kids like valued customers. The bistro’s three pizzas’ light, gas-baked, almost cracker-like crust is one of Portland’s most addictive, while the lineup (a bright margherita, sausage and greens, and an almost-German pancetta and crème fraîche number) makes a fierce case for quality over quantity. No, this isn’t an all-you-can-eat barn. But you’ll sort of wish it were.
1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd; 503-231-9959