For the second time in as many months, another Portland restaurateur has stepped up his game when it comes to paying a livable wage. On July 29, Scott Rivera opened Scottie's Pizza Parlor in the former Spielman's bagel spot on SE Division, and he says he's always planned on paying his employees $15 an hour, even when he was drawing up his business plan.
And he had to, if he knew what was good for him: His girlfriend and business partner Amy Coplen is writing her dissertation on food labor at this very moment. And in fact, she recommended the idea to begin with.
Although he had tinkered with it for years, Brooklyn-born Rivera said he'd never taken pizza seriously until moving to pizzaless New Mexico. He was a kid, his mother was pursuing her dream of being a cattle rancher, and the lack of pizza will stick with him for the rest of his life. What's life without pizza—especially for a Brooklyn kid—anyway?
When he moved here, he worked in the kitchen at Bread and Ink, then "somehow charmed" his way into the back of the house at Ava Gene's. "I wasn't really sure what kind of cook I wanted to be," he says, "but one day [Coplen] told me, ‘Go make pizza, you'll be happy." So he did. He pulled shifts at Baby Doll Pizza, East Glisan Pizza Lounge, and Will Fain's Handsome Pizza, the latter of which also celebrates a new brick-and-mortar opening this month.
It was Handsome's Fain who really taught Rivera the value of a dialed in pizza. "There's not enough pizza around that focuses on the basics: really good dough, really good sauce, and really good cheese," he says.
And like Fain, he makes both his own ricotta and his own mozzarella and, likewise, uses a grainy sourdough starter and lets the dough ferment for two days. This creates a thin crust that's chewy without being bready.
At Scottie's Pizza Parlor, pies measure 18 inches across and include simple flavors like margherita, pepperoni, and a the sauceless bianca. And while whole pies will run you $15 to $25, you can grab a simple slice of cheese for just $2 a pop.
Salads, garlic knots, canned wine, and bottled and canned beer rounds out the menu.
Scottie's Pizza Parlor, 2128 SE Division St., (971) 544-7878; Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.