Cosa Nostrana

By Sylvan Goldberg May 19, 2009 Published in the December 2005 issue of Portland Monthly

Owned by a foursome of family and friends, artisan pizzeria Nostrana may seem to be based on a highly combustible formula. But in this case, flames are a very good thing.

"You could do an entire restaurant just off one of these," boasts Deb Accuardi of the wood-fired oven that anchors her new collaboration with former Genoa owner Cathy Whims.

The two share kitchen duties in the restaurant they co-own with their husbands, Marc Accuardi and David West. During a 2003 trip to Italy, the quartet fell in love with the Italian roadhouses they encountered there; that amore begat the latest in a string of recent gourmet pizza openings around town. But Accuardi, who also owns Gino’s with her husband and formerly owned Old Town Pizza, puts the pie profusion in a larger context.

"This is something we’ve been talking about for years," says Accuardi. "Things were getting big and complicated. Now everyone is going back to simplicity. Artisan pizza is about really showing the ingredients."

With salads and straightforward Italian antipasti and entrées, Accuardi hopes Nostrana will fill many roles for inner Southeast. "We are it for the area," says Accuardi. "The neighborhood really wanted something. This is what Sellwood was like when we opened Gino’s."

And if the neighborhood heats up, Accuardi & Co will certainly keep the fire burning.