From this day forward, Trifecta Annex will be known as Checkerboard Pizza. Portland’s most James Beard-awarded baker, Ken Forkish (Trifecta Tavern, Ken’s Artisan Bakery), tells Eater he’s rebranding after being open for a year and a half inside Pine Street Market because, well, the pizza stole the show.
“I have a really great team, with pizza chef William Wells, and really great pizza,” says Forkish. “I needed a name that reflects that. I’m ready for the cred test.”
When Trifecta Annex opened, it had hoped to equally focus on Forkish’s baked goods, but Pine Street Market apparently isn’t the place people go for some of the city’s best bread and pastries — even if they are baked daily at 9:30 a.m. at Trifecta Tavern and delivered by bicycle for Trifecta Annex’s 11 a.m. opening.
Checkerboard will continue to sell breads and baked goods, but the name change shows a renewed focus on its 18-inch, New York City-style pies and slices. And they’ve significantly evolved since May 2016.
“I don’t like naming names,” says Forkish, “but we started with a triple-decker pizza oven by a respected brand, and it kept going down in the middle of service.”
Forkish replaced the oven with one capable of maintaining an ideal temperature even during a busy lunch service.
“I’m focusing on the classics right now,” he says. “How well can we make a pepperoni pizza? A cheese pizza? A Hawaiian?”
Unlike the pizzas as Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Checkboard’s are made with a flour mix involving high-protein Caputo Americana Flour, and they start with a biga for a long fermentation. The attention to details results in things like a cheese slice involving five cheeses.
Not much else will change at Checkerboard Pizza. It’ll continue to serve slices and whole pies, with delivery by Caviar. Checkerboard operates daily for lunch and dinner at 126 SW Pine St.