Mendi’s Pizza Parlor • Fast Eddy’s • Spoleto’s Pizza
“I don’t get it,” my husband said, but then again, he’s from New York and I guess they don’t have saloon doors on their pizza joints, or cowboy pictures on the walls or big stovepipe fireplaces right in the middle of the room.
In Oregon, there was a pizza chain called Grizzly Bear and it was just about the best pizza you could get this side of Lewis and Clark. Mendi’s started off, a long time ago, as a Grizzly Bear. Then the Mendizona’s took it over but retained the dark wood décor, the old West style and the low-key folksy feel. (The Mendizonas recently retired and sold to Sun and Lee Kang, who wisely haven’t changed a thing.)
It’s comfortably kitschy, from the help-yourself popcorn machine sitting on one wall, to the loudspeaker that announces your order like you’re somebody.
Mendi’s pizza crust has a snappy crunch and their traditional red sauce is rich and flavorful. Their sandwiches could feed three people and the toasted bread (cut from their pizza dough) holds up well under a generous pile of ingredients. The “hot” cheese available on two of the pizzas gives them a different but tasty twist.
Mendi’s delivers and has a banquet room for parties. They also have a Trophy Hunting rifle video game that you can play while you wait for your food.
114 Lancaster Dr NE
Here is, I bet, a well-kept secret. Fast Eddy’s is set back among a cloister of all-night convenience stores. Its small storefront is easy to overlook, but walk in and voila! First of all, it’s Jason’s place, not Eddy’s, and second of all there’s a nice clean, cute restaurant inside decorated in cute Italian flavor.
There is plenty of room to stay and eat here and, if you sit by the door, to watch the show. Jason is a serious craftsman – deliberate and precise. Three to five quick tosses for a large pizza, two for a small, a brush to spread on the sauce, and then a quick and exact delivery of toppings. He does it with the strict tempo of a marching band, the artistic flourish of a symphony orchestra. And when I grabbed a slice of pizza from the tray he brought out, the cheese stretched out a country mile.
Aside from the “Burrito” pizza, Fast Eddy’s menu is very traditional with calzones, lasagna and spaghetti as other options. The meatballs in the meatball parmigian sandwich tasted just-made and I caught a hint of rosemary. It’s a good old-fashioned pizza place with great prices — they were running a special when we were there for a large one-topping pizza for $6.99. Fast Eddy’s delivers.
210 Charles St, Mt. Angel (503) 845-2200
4804 HWY 20 Sweet Home (541) 367-4001
As Jesse Klein of Spoleto’s Pizza put it, “anyone can top a pizza.” The secret lies in the sauce and the dough (they all make their own), and they all have a very tasty secret.
This nondescript corner joint on a short block in Mt. Angel has a cheeky sort of slacker charm. The wide-open space is an eclectic mix of red and white-checkered tablecloths and country casual décor (one wall looks like the side of a barn). Scatter some chess and checkers boards around the tables, throw in a whimsical but impressive Oregon-themed menu complete with wine pairings, and you’ve got yourself a cool pizza place.
You can build your own pizza from one of six different sauces and an ingredients list that includes mandarin oranges and toasted hazelnuts alongside the staples. Or you can order one of their inventive gourmet pizzas. We picked the “Willamette White,” which has a garlic and olive oil sauce beneath parmesan, feta and provolone cheeses swaddling mushrooms and artichoke hearts. It paired nicely with the suggested Pinot Gris. The pizza had a good, crisp crust, and the garlic-oil base gave it nice flavor. The standard cheese slice with red sauce met hearty approval, too, even under the scrutiny of the two New York Italians I brought with me.
Spoleto’s delivers seven days a week, sells by the slice, and you can buy beer and wine to go from a noteworthy selection.
Abby’s Legendary Pizza 3451 River Rd N (503) 393-ABBY
Christos Pizzeria 324 Church St. NE (503) 371-2892
Fat Rosa’s Pizza Shop & Arcade 424 McClaine St. Silverton (503) 873-306
Garlic Jim’s1594 Edgewater (503) 581-5467
Geppetto’s 616 Lancaster Dr. (503) 378-1271
J C’s Pizzaria 4200 River Rd. N Keizer (503) 390-0805
Joe Mocha Pizza 1760 Market St. (503) 589-4598
Lefty’s Pizzeria Eastside 1230 State St. (503) 362-0993
Lefty’s Pizzeria Southside 2918 Commercial (503) 763-8667
Michelangelo’s520 Lancaster Dr. (503) 588-8048
Padington’s Pizza 410 Pine St. NE (503) 378-0345
Papa’s Pizza4550 Commercial (503) 364-3009
The Pi Pizza Express 237 N 2nd St. Jefferson (541) 327-0156
Spoleto’s 470 E Main. Monmouth (503) 838-4040
Straight From New York Pizza 233 Liberty St. NE (503) 581-5863
Ugo’s Pizza 190 E Ida St. Stayton (503) 769-7232
Walery’s 1555 Edgewater (503) 362-6858