Style: New York
Atlas took over SE Division Street’s Road Runner Café space last spring, slinging as straightforward a New York slice as you’ll find in Portland: foldable, crispy yet chewy, and hedonistically cheesy. Atlas cooks up blue-collared pies like the Sluzrenko, with pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeño, as well as essentially a Caesar salad on top of a pizza. But after a long night out, we go for the unsullied cheese slice—salty and greasy, with a nice, crunchy crust and a decent tomato sauce. Just don’t get fancy at the pizzeria’s bar: its takes on a strawberry lemonade and a blueberry mojito are a muddled mess of still-frozen fruit and unmeasured pours.
You’re getting: A perfectly plain cheese slice. 503-232-3004
Sean Coyne, former baker at Thomas Keller’s haute Per Se and New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery, has a serious rep to live up to. At his cute but slightly
sterile 40-seat pizzeria (also along SE Division), he blisters Neapolitan, thin-crust beauties inside a 900-degree Mugnaini wood-fired oven. Layered with hand-stretched mozzarella and good-quality tomato sauce, and topped with the likes of Olympic Provisions sausage and fresh shiitake mushrooms, Coyne’s pizzas are delicious across the board. Surprisingly, it’s the soft, swollen dough that falls short, landing on the matzo-cardboard side of the flavor fence.
You’re getting: Tomato, basil, mozzarella.
Style: Midwest Fusion
Self-proclaimed “pizza commander” Vallery Markel is so obsessed with pizza that she cohosts her own podcast, Pie Talk—modeled after NPR’s Car Talk—in her spare time. The crust at her Montavilla-area shop, a cracker-thin sourdough stratum that harks back to Markel’s native Midwest, provides a sturdy base for her farm-fresh pies, from a bitter rapini, chile flake, and provolone to a winter-appropriate kale, bacon, potato, and smoked mozzarella number set in a slick of cream. It helps that Markel trained under local Italian eats matriarch Cathy Whims, who helped her master the perfect meatball pie, crowned with golf ball–size pork rounds bound in garlic, thyme, and leftover pizza sourdough crumbs.
You’re getting: Meatball pie.