May 23, 2013

Eat and Run: Pie in the Sky, Portland

The pizza is tasty, slices are large, and butternut squash is not an ingredient.

Portland probably doesn't need another gourmet pizza place, but I'm nonetheless pleased that we have one.

click image to enlarge

Veronica Smith readies a slice of pizza at Pie in the Sky Pizza at the Public Market building in Portland's Monument Square.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

PIE IN THE SKY PIZZA

WHERE: Portland Public Market House, 28 Monument Square, Portland; 699-3331

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

CHEAPEST GRUB: $2.80 for a slice of three-cheese pizza

WAIT: Two to three minutes

PARKING: On street or nearby garage

HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes

RATING: Three stars on a five-star scale

Pie in the Sky Pizza recently opened at the Public Market House at Monument Square. It's a new venture of Big Sky Bread Co. featuring Tuscan crusts made fresh at the Big Sky bakery on Deering Avenue.

The selection is small, and thankfully simple. Among my pet peeves: Coffee shops that serve everything but a regular cup of coffee and pizza places that dress up their pizzas so badly that you can't find a basic slice. With all due respect to the competition, do we really need butternut squash pizza?

Pie in the Sky offers four varieties daily at its slice bar: Three-cheese, bianca, pepperoni and Thai chicken. It also offers specialty slices on a rotating basis that include Greek, margherita, Italian sausage and bacon mushroom chevre.

To my tastes, those choices are fairly straightforward. Nothing too exotic that makes you wonder, "Why did they bother?"

During a nice spring day last week, I ordered a slice of three-cheese and one of pepperoni. My first impressions were positive. The slices were rather large, and I probably didn't need one of each. They were inexpensive. (I was charged $2.80 each, for a total cost of $5.99 for what amounted to a half-pizza. But the take-out menu suggests I should have paid $3.25 for the pepperoni.)

And the service was quick. I had my slices boxed and paid for within about two minutes; three, tops.

I intended to eat them out in the sunlight of Monument Square, but I neglected to grab napkins. Instead, I brought them back to the office and ate at my desk.

I enjoyed both slices. I liked the crust, which was firm and crunchy, but not hard.

I thought the slice of pepperoni was especially tasty. The pepperonis were diced into cubes as opposed to sliced, which made the pizza easy to eat on the run. Other ingredients included roasted red peppers, fresh basil, three cheeses and tomato sauce. It had a bit of a spicy kick to it, which probably came from the pepperonis, but not too much.

The slice of three-cheese wasn't as good -- not because of the ingredients, but the execution.

I liked the mingling of the mozzarella, provolone and cheddar served on a bed of tomato sauce. But the crust was a tad under-cooked. It had just come out of the oven as I ordered it, and it probably could have remained cooking another minute or two.

I sensed that my order rushed the process just a bit. I would have been happy to have waited. But that is a minor complaint, really. I finished both slices, and felt satisfied.

I love pizza, and am often looking for a quick slice to curb a hunger pang during the day. I won't venture too far afield from what I know I like, and I can all but guarantee that I will order pepperoni again. But if I get lucky and the Italian sausage is available on my next visit, I'll try that too.

Thai chicken? Not likely. I'll leave that for others who are more adventurous with their tastes. 

The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $10.

 

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