Paper Bag Pizza

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pizza food cart portland

Paper Bag Pizza

Location: SE 28th Pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, lunch and dinner

The Story: A few years ago, I distinctly remember trying my first wood fired pizza from a food cart. John Eads’ handbuilt Pyro Pizza at Cartopia began slinging these amazing pies from an oven glowing at 900 degrees. Revolutionary to this kid who grew up on Pizza Hut and other corporate ‘za. Paper Bag Pizza took over one of John’s carts at Tidbit this past year, keeping tastebuds from resting.

Paper Bag Pizza is the work of Tom Daly and Emily Goodman and their family, Tom’s been there the times I’ve visited and is always welcoming even if he is simultaneously stoking the fire, making a fresh pie or pulling one out. I bet when it is busier on the weekends, having an extra hand helps. Everything is made to order, no pizza is sitting there waiting to be warmed, that is the glory of the wood fired oven. It only takes a few minutes to make and then bake the pie. As with any pizza joint, you can create your own with a mix of sausages, veggies and cheeses or pick one of their creations. I myself feel the pizza maker is smarter than me with flavor combinations, so I opted for the #1 with sausage, roasted garlic, Calabrian chili, fresh mozzarella atop a tomato sauce. Boom! Each slice, divine. Thin, charred crust, Neapolitan style. Acidic tomato sauce that complements the sausage and cheese so well. Nothing over the top, balanced just right. Trust me, there were no leftovers.

pizza food cart portland

Paper Bag Pizza

Paper Bag Pizza is the real deal and offers a wide range of toppings for you to make something special. This past week they had fresh asparagus and basil. Open Wednesday to Sunday at Tidbit, head on down, enjoy a pie and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

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Website: PaperBagPizza.com
Facebook: Paper Bag Pizza

Pulehu Pizza Pod 28

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pizza food cart portland

Pulehu Pizza Pod 28

Location: SE 28th and Ankeny, Pod 28
Hours: Wed-Sun, 11:30-8pm

The Story: Annebelle and Pierre opened a second food cart earlier this year at Pod 28 in SE Portland. Pulehu Pizza focuses on handmade thin crust barbecued pizza. Sourcing local ingredients and crafting some amazing concoctions like Mushroom and White Truffle Oil or Prosciutto and fig. Find them for lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday.

Website: PulehuPizza.com
Facebook: Pulehu Pizza

Midwest Pizza Co.

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pizza food cart Portland

Midwest Pizza Co

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi at Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Monday/Thursday – 11:30-3; Friday/Saturday, 11:30-8; Sunday, 11:30-7

The Story: I grew up eating pizza from Round Table and Abby’s and in college, the ubiquitous Domino’s. It was only the last couple of decades I was introduced to what really good pizza is and Portland has it. Midwest Pizza Co is a new food cart serving up Chicago and Detroit style pizza.

pizza food cart Portland

Detroit Style Pizza

I remember the first time ordering a Chicago style pizza in Chicago. We were accosted with menus. Told to order quickly as it takes an hour. And then we waited. It was great, yet coming from the west coast where pizza was quick and thin, it was a different experience all together. Here in Portland, at the food carts, the vendors offer the pizza by the slice, so there isn’t the hour long wait. You can still get a whole pie if you want, just call ahead. At Midwest Pizza Co, their goal was to bring to Portland the flavors so you don’t have to endure the 100 degree weather and 100% humidity.

pizza food cart Portland

Chicago style dog

The Chicago Deep Dish starts with the crust. A flaky, buttery bed with slabs of Mozzarella and then the homemade sauce and toppings. The first slice I enjoyed on opening weekend was almost 2″ thick and so much cheese. The Detroit Style originated from baking the pie in spare parts trays giving the pizza a distinct rectangular shape. Caramelization occurs on the edges of the crust and when topped with Mozzarella and Monterey Jack and a few slices of pepperoni, you just can’t go wrong. Lastly, the Classic Chicago Dog. Made with Red Hot Chicago dogs, I enjoyed it “dragged through the garden.” The dog was topped with yellow mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish which glowed green, pickle spears, tomato wedges, sport peppers and celery salt. Each bit was fulfilling with veggies and pickled goodness and, well, hot dog happiness.

Midwest Pizza Co. is a great addition to the food cart scene here in Portland. We now have a number of wood fired pizza vendors and a Chicago style cart in downtown, so I’m glad they located in my neighborhood. Open Thursday-Monday for both lunch and dinner, if you’re in the neighborhood, you should check them out. Also, if you’re from the midwest, they offer other tasty regional treats including Sprecher Root Beer and Faygo. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (Full menu on MWPizza.com)

  • Chicago Dog – $4
  • Chicago Dog with all the fixin’s – $5.50
  • Chicago Deep Dish – slices are $5.50; whole pies are $15-20.
  • Detroit Style – $4-4.50/slice; whole pies are $10-15

Phone: 503 697 4992
Website: MWPizza.com
Twitter: @MidwestPizzaCo
Facebook: Midwest Pizza Company

Ash Wood Fired Pizza

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wood fired pizza portland

Ash Wood Fired Pizza

Location: 3200 SW Moody – The Gantry
Hours: Tues, 11:30-3pm; Wed-Sat, 11:30-3 and 5-8pm; Sun, 11:30-3

The Story: A few years ago, a food truck the size of a shipping container debuted with a wood fired pizza oven. Huge! Yet, you don’t have to go big to create a quality product. Ash Wood Fired Pizza has a wood fired pizza oven inside their diminutive food truck and still have room for two people to craft the magic.

Ash Wood Fired Pizza opened last month in the Sellwood district at one of Portland’s oldest east side food cart pods. The owners, Ted and Alexandra Scharpnick traveled as far as B.C. to pick up the truck already outfitted with the yellow tiled wood fired pizza oven. The truck is eye catching-  smaller than the behemoths that roam the streets of many cities with a flat black finish and their welcoming logo. I see a lot of trucks and Ash Wood Fired is one of the best. Ted let me in on how they make their dough. Using grapes, water and flour, he created a starter. The yeast is all wild and the starter continues to grow to create a unique and changing flavor in the dough. Pretty cool. I’ve heard of using vodka in pasta, but not grapes in dough.

wood fired pizza portland

Margherita from Ash Wood Fired Pizza

Ash Wood Fired has a great list of pizza options and offers up specials daily. On my visit, the ubiquitous and always amazing Margherita topped the menu. Other options included mushroom and garlic with pesto and maitake mushrooms or mustard greens and zucchini with a house made marinara. I’m a sucker for the Margherita, a clean, uncomplicated pizza with fresh lively flavors and at this time of the year, fresh basil. A single pizza is great for one person, so get two and share with a friend. I hadn’t planned on finishing it, but suddenly and surprisingly, I was devouring the fourth slice. Excellent crust.

The pod in Sellwood has five different vendors with Ash Wood Fired right on the corner. They have covered seating and a welcoming atmosphere. If you’re down on antique row, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Ash Wood Fired moved to The Gantry in 2015]

Sample Menu: menu changes daily, so check their Facebook page

  • Margherita – house made marinara, fresh mozzarella and basil – $8
  • Peppers and Tomatoes – cilantro pesto, padron peppers, sungold tomatoes, ovoline Mozzarella
  • Asparagus and Fennel – house made marinara, Viridian Farms asparagus, shaved fennel, scallions, Ovoline Mozzarella

Phone: 503 941 0196
Website: Ashwoodfired.com
Facebook: Ash Wood Fired Pizza

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

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Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday

The Story: I’m a child of pizza. I can’t tell you how pizza was so integral in the enjoyment of my childhood and teenage years. Portland had the thin crust pizza covered, but when I visited Chicago, I was introduced to the deep dish style. Thick, a new food cart on SW 9th and Washington, brings Chicago style pizza to the streets of our fine town.

Thick opened a few months ago and was selling out daily immediately. First time I visited, just after 1pm – totally sold out of slices and making a couple of suit-clad businessmen their own personal pie. Michael Cline is the man behind the pizza. A Chicagoan by birth, Michael saw Portland was lacking in his favorite cuisine, so decided to open the cart. He crafts everything from scratch including the house made Italian sausage, and pies are fresh made daily.

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

A Chicago deep dish pie is exactly that – deep dish with thick crust. A standard pie takes almost an hour to bake, so Michael makes a specific number of pies each day and when the slices sell out, that’s it. You can pre-order a pie though, so don’t fret.  I picked up a slice of handmade Italian sausage – Michael heated it up and handed me a small box which weighed a couple of pounds. While stalwarts may pick it up, I used a fork and knife to enjoy every last bite. Buttery crust acted well as the base layer topped first with Mozzarella then the sausage, and crushed tomatoes. The sausage was spot on and cheese in every bite made for a great lunch.

Thick Deep Dish Pizza is also open for breakfast, so if you’re coming into town early, feel free to stop by for local ham, melted onions, and Comte cheese encased in a classic buttery pastry crust. Sounds good to me. If you do want your own pie, be sure to call ahead and give Michael some time. All good things take time and patience. Drop on by for a thick slice of ‘za and let Michael know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Homemade Italian Sausage-  $5/slice
  • Spinach – $4/slice
  • Whole pies available

Phone: 630-697-6581
Facebook: Thick Pizza

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