Pizzafication, Portland Style

We have been here in Portland (or Lake Oswego, if you go about 80 yards south of the house) three months and three weeks. We had been here on vacation visits before, of course, but pizza was never high enough on our do list on those trips to be any kind of a priority. Now, I love pizza, and Wife will willingly each a slice or three with only the very gentlest push from me, so we have it maybe a couple times a month. I could eat it twice a week, but, well, the waistline, you know. So once we got in the house, we began looking for a good pizza place.

Costco has pizza, and it’s not bad, but on my pizza scale of 1-5, a 5 being groan with ecstasy at every bite, Costco comes in at 2+ or so. There is a chain of take-and-bake joints here called Papa Murphy’s that’s a 3, maybe a 3+. We tried a couple of stand-alone places as we were out and about and none was that good. Then we dropped by a nearby small shopping center and came across this:

Flying Pie Pizzeria is one of those old fashioned joints with wooden tables and junk on the walls, but when we walked in it smelled terrific. The menu has a lot of breadth, four crust choices: Chicago style extra thick, original thick, NY (Upstate) style thin and New York (NYC) style Extra thin). Plus they have stuffed baked pizzas, calzones and hot subs.

I’ve ordered and eaten a lot of pizzas in my days, but what I saw waiting when they called my name (we dined in) made my eyes pop. The large size (16-inch), thin crust pizza was piled high – really high – with a massive amount of toppings. So much that a lot of the toppings tried, often successfully, to slide off when I picked up a slice. Wife went to the fork, but I believe pizza is to be eaten with the hands, so I cradled it in both paws and dug in.

Wow! On my 1-5 scale, this pizza is a 5+. Absolutely great crust, crunchy on the outer third or so, the cheeses and meats are fabulous, especially the Italian sausage, the veggies flavorful and in just the right proportions. There was no hunting for the ingredients on this baby. My muffled (mouth full) exclamations of approval continued throughout the many slices I consumed, and I declared it was a truly great pizza. Wife agreed it was very, very good, but expensive. “Yeah,” I replied, “but this has twice the toppings of the other places. You get what you pay for.”.

One visit does not a convinced patron make, however, and we had a couple of Papa Murphy super-thin crust “healthy” pizzas in the next few weeks, it was fast and pretty convenient (though Flying Pie is only about ten minutes from our house). Then I decided to call and order a pick-up pizza. We had the Combo 2: pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, onions, black olives and Italian sausage. The only thing wrong with this pizza was I waited too long to go get it and it wasn’t blazing hot when I got it home. No matter, it was excellent.


Last week we made our 4th trip to the place, ordering from home and eating it there. We got a simple pepperoni-mushroom-onion and I wish I had a photo of it, as it was a thing of beauty. I did find this online at, of a sausage combo and it will have to do.

I’m telling you that pizza last week was one of the best I ever tasted, but then I say that every time we go to this place. I’m convinced: Flying Pie Pizzeria makes the best pizza in Portland. Not the trendiest (no salmon, goat cheese and Spanish thyme pizzas here), not the most stylish, but the best pizza. I’m ready to go back right now.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in At Home in Portland, Personal Opinion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Pizzafication, Portland Style

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Good thing I ate not too long ago. Jackie says that pizza is her favorite food and she could eat it every day.

  2. Chris says:

    Will definitely have to try that next time I’m there. Haven’t taken the time to really indulge on my trips to Portland, though the place right out front of Powell’s is decent (is that called Rocco’s, maybe?).

    A few years ago we were out there with the family band, Tater Pig, and we played an awesome place called Mississippi Pizza.

    We were there to rock, not feast, so I can’t remember what the quality was like . . . but I recall it being good, and a cool atmosphere.

  3. Drongo says:

    You can never have enough Italian sausage on a pizza. Or mushrooms for that matter.

    It’ll be interesting if the fine folks at Flying Pie Pizzeria find out about your kind words. If they do, I’m sure it will make their day.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    Damn. We have a very good thin crust, fire oven baked pizza place a few blocks away. I think I will order one tomorrow night. (Phil is making chicken cacciatore (ellie krieger’s from the food network) tonight.

  5. Ron Scheer says:

    Ever thought of being the Jonathan Gold of Portland? This is definitely his style.

  6. Richard says:

    Yep, I got hungry just typing that one up. We’re going out for mexican tonight (unless we blow away or get washed away, it’s really stormy out right now), but Flying Pie is in our plans for Saturday.

    I have heard Mississippi Pizza is good, Chris, but haven’t tried it.

  7. Carl V. says:

    We have Papa Murphy’s here and order it a lot. I’d give their Cowboy pizza (with hamburger substituted for the sausage) a 3.5. My favorite pizza place is, I believe, a place called Pizza 51 that is in an old converted gas station that is across from my wife’s work. Recently I had pizza from a place called Fun House Pizza which sounds like it would be crap but actually looks a lot like the pizza you have pictured. It was amazing. I’ll be eating there again, soon!

    I’m so excited you guys found a good place. I think I mentioned at some point in your move something about the fun of discovering new places once you get settled in and I’m happy you are doing just that. We need to do a better job of finding other places to eat instead of going to the same old places. We do venture out, but not nearly enough.

  8. Jerry House says:

    As far as I can tell, there’s only one really important question here. Does Flying Pie Pizzeria deliver to Southern Maryland?

  9. Richard says:

    Jerry, they don’t even deliver to my house a few miles away. It’s a no delivery outfit, and I’m sure they save a bundle on not having drivers, insurance on them, etc. Sorry, you’ll have to find you best in the area and have a go there. On the other hand (he said), I’d bet a lot you have better BBQ there than nay I’ve found here so far, and believe me, I’ve been looking.

  10. I love a good pizza myself. We have a local establishment, King’s Inn Pizza, here in town that outshines every chain I’ve ran across. A family run operation, the parents have retired now and their son, and his friend, operate it these days. They don’t deliver either, but it’s worth making the trip. I was in one day waiting behind two ladies to pay for my order. They were just passing through town, stopped for lunch, and were wondering where they could find another. So disappointed when told it was the only one.

  11. Stan says:

    I envy you. I have yet to find a good Pizza joint out here in Riverside – or a good Chinese restaurant. For some reason there a a ton of good Thai places, though . . .

  12. Cap'n Bob says:

    I’m stuck with Pizza Hut unless I feel like cooking a Papa Murphy’s. I won’t patronize Domino’s.

  13. Evan Lewis says:

    There’s a Flying Pie on our side of town, too, in the Southeast. Better yet, they provide pizza to one of our favorite cheapo theaters – the Academy. You can see a movie AND get a slice of Flying Pie for less than the price of a ticket at one of the big chain theaters.

  14. Art Scott says:

    There’s a one-off pizza joint in nearby Pleasanton, Gay Nineties, with wooden tables and junk on the walls, just as you describe Flying Pie. The restaurant is in a 1864 building that used to be a Wells Fargo stage stop, with a brothel upstairs. It’s by far the best pizza in my neighborhood. It’s also I think the only one that has a named combo on the menu (Jeff’s Special) that’s identical to my standard order: Pepperoni, Sausage & Onion. The sausage is the key ingredient by which I always judge pizza quality. They claim that one of their combos, Frank’s Special, is famed for inducing labor in overdue pregnancies. I wouldn’t know about that.

  15. Richard says:

    Seems a good pizza is important to most people, whether they eat it a few times a year or twice a month. Sometimes I want one loaded with toppings, other times I want pretty much a one-topping job.

    Bob – Pizza Hut is okay in a pinch, but I’d think in your neck of the woods there would be a good stand-alone somewhere. Maybe just too far away to be convenient. Of course, if delivery is a must, that cuts the list down.

    Art – Ha! One has to wonder what’s in that Frank’s Special, and what the story is, but your standard order and mine are close, I add olives also.

    Evan – we’re thinking Flying Pie on Saturday, okay with you guys? A slice of FP and a movie? Sounds messy but fun.

  16. Art Scott says:

    Franks Special: sourdough crust with pepperoni, linguisa, ham, sausage, salami, bell peppers, onions, olives, and mushrooms. Next time your baby’s overdue, give it a shot.

  17. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Rick, I asked my brother – who has been in Portland for a long time – what he thought of Flying Pizza. He said he’s eaten at the SE branch and “I think he’s overstating quality” is his review.

    But two points:

    1. He’s from New York and has tough standards
    2. He’s a vegetarian so wouldn’t get the benefit of (yum) sausage

  18. Richard says:

    Fair enough, it’s certainly possible. It is the best we have found here so far, and far better then any place we went down in SoCal. Plus I like a fairly thin crust, which may make a difference. So I wonder… what is his favorite Pizza place here?

  19. I could eat pizza every day. Western NY has at least a dozen first-class (5+ on your scale) pizza parlors. If you ever come out this way, you’ll discover Pizza Heaven!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s