Neighborhood Pies at East Glisan
East Glisan Pizza Lounge opened its doors earlier this year, joining a new wave of dough-slingers that includes Southeast Division spots Pizza Maria and Atlas Pizza, with Bunk Sandwich kingpin Tommy Habetz’s upcoming Moon Pizza and Northeast Sandy’s Pizza Otto on deck.
This next generation of slice offerings doesn’t subscribe to any one school of pizza thought; Neapolitan, New York, and New Haven all have a seat at the table. And East Glisan is the most nondenominational of the bunch: cracker-thin slices of good sourdough crust with farmers market toppings. Whatever you call it, it’s worth the trip to Montavilla for a pie or two.
East Glisan’s self-proclaimed “pizza commander” is Vallery Markel, an alum of Cathy Whim’s Oven & Shaker and former sous chef at Bar Avignon. Markel is a true pizza geek: she co-hosts her own pizza podcast, Pie Talk, in the vein of NPR’s Car Talk. The style of East Glisan, she says, is closer to that of a Midwest pie, where thin, sturdy slices are the mode. It’s not for everyone: Italian traditionalists will miss the soft, elastic dough and poofy edges; others will look for a thick, substantial crust and a coal-fired burnish.
While locals stake out the eight-seat bar in front and screaming children clamor over the arcade in back, Markel loads a bitter rapini pie with chile flakes, provolone, and a squeeze of lemon. Her farm-fresh approach, learned in the trenches of Oven & Shaker, comes out in flavors like a winter-appropriate kale, bacon, potato, and smoked mozzarella number set in a layer of cream. But the meatball pie, crowned with East Glisan’s excellent, softball-sized pork rounds (bound with garlic, thyme and leftover pizza sourdough crumbs), is the best in the house.
East Glisan may not become a pizza institution in the same echelon as Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan, in part because of timing (it’s Portland, 2014: great pizza is abundant), and because of its atypical, thin-crust proportions. But as a neighborhood favorite and a voice in this year’s growing class of newcomers, it’s already a huge success.
East Glisan Pizza Lounge
8001 NE Glisan