Trying to find parking on the rare occasion that the car was taken out was not a success in the limited amount of time allowed. Therefore, Pizza Week’s vegetarian pizza quest #3 switched locations to the east side within a nice walk’s distance from home to Scottie’s Pizza Parlor on SE Division St. What a gem of a place this turned out to be!
Scottie’s obsession with pizza started as a 14 year old when he worked as a busboy at Luigi’s (similar to Portland’s, DeNicola’s Restaurant) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Short-staffed one night, Luigi took Scottie into the kitchen, taught him how to make pizza, and the rest is history. However, it wasn’t until about three years ago that his work took him back to those roots. On weekends, perhaps as a form of stress relief from his job at the time, he would make pizza. It gave him such joy that his wife convinced him to take up that line of work. After doing so, he quickly realized that he wanted his own pizza parlor and spent about two years studying and developing a business plan. One of the two places he worked during this time was East Glisan Pizza Lounge. Inspired by the podcast, “Car Talk,” he and co-worker, Val, created their own called, “Pie Talk” and a Facebook page by the same name, https://www.facebook.com/pietalkpdx. It only lasted two episodes, but gives you a sense of the sunny disposition that Scottie brings to his work, and his love for all things pizza.
Founded less than one year ago, Scottie has created a formula for success that seems innovative in the food industry, especially when it comes to pizza houses. Having spent most of his working life in the food service industry he has experienced environments that were stressful, with managers that treated their employees badly, and long hours at subpar wages. When he was putting together his business plan for this pizza parlor, he vowed to pay his employees no less than $15 an hour, plus tips, and if he couldn’t make it a success by doing so, he wouldn’t open a restaurant. He believes that your employees deserve a job they can live off of and in an environment that makes them happy to do their job. Watching the interaction between Scottie and his employees, you get a sense that they all enjoy their work and each other; there is a lot of playful banter between them that carries over into how they treat their customers. They all have a shared fondness for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which can be seen in the cape worn by one, to the backpack belonging to another, to pictures on the walls. Mikey, also tie dyes his own shirts, and designed one that resembles pepperoni on a pizza which he and another wore when I was there. The kitchen space is quite small with pizzas coming in and out of the oven continually, dishes being carried forward or back, and food delivered to the patrons every moment, yet it all happens in this small space like a perfectly choreographed dance.
For Pizza Week, they decided to impart some nostalgia by taking it back to the Pizza Hut days of the stuffed crust pizza. With that in mind, they decided to stick with the standard pepperoni and a veggie “just” cheese offering. The crust is no ordinary one mind you, but is from a sourdough starter affectionately named “Audrey II” after Little Shop of Horrors. They also make their own ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. How was the pizza you are probably wondering by now? Well, the cheese pizza had just the right amount of sauce, with plenty of cheese in every mouth-watering bite. The crust was crispy enough to keep the cheese from making it soggy and had a very nice flavor. The stuffed crust really did take one back to the time of Pizza Hut only Scottie’s pizza has a much better flavor (However, the stuffed crust is only available this week). Business was brisk on this Friday night, with a line out the door while I was there. Ever mindful of keeping a fun atmosphere, there is a Ms. Pac-Man table if you’re so inclined and there’s even a disco ball for what he jokingly calls, “Scottie’s after dark.” Scottie, and his pizza parlor, will make you feel welcomed and part of the family from the moment you walk through their doors. You will be taken care of, fed well, and leave with a smile on your face. It was an unexpected turn of events that led me to Scottie’s this night but it will certainly not be my last.