Nick Ford knows pizza. He’s tossed dough and slathered sauce on pies across town, from the hip-hop pop-up days at P.R.E.A.M. to his most recent Hosford-Abernathy joint Associated, which will soon become acclaimed reservations-only restaurant Holdfast Dining’s new spot. He’s made them gluten-free and vegan, traditional and funky, topped with hazelnut pesto and
At Ford’s Pizzeria sul Lago, which opens in Lake Oswego March 19th, pizza is front and center. Visually, there’s no doubt. The restaurant opens on a shining blue pizza oven, surrounded by a semi-circle of chef’s counter. Pizza peels hang on the walls; split maple sits in piles around the restaurant.
But in a town that loves its bars, Ford went bold and scrapped the idea of any distraction from the main event. The team ditched a cocktail bar altogether, opting for 17 seats at the chef’s counter.
The oven in question is a Mario Acunto Italian wood-fired pizza oven, made by a member of the OG Neapolitan pizza oven family. Both Mario and his brother Gianni make pizza ovens, and Ford has cooked in both. He’s partial to Mario’s oven for its consistent burn and its softer look.
Ford decided to leave Associated after he was offered the opportunity to open Pizzeria sul Lago, another project over which he would have complete creative control. Associated, which spit its menu between tacos and pizza, was a collaboration; Ford was excited to go back to his roots and build something pizza-centric from the ground up.
Although the restaurant is officially sans-bar, Pizzeria sul Lago will have booze. The pizza joint will hawk bottled cocktails including negronis and Manhattans — the pre-bottling keeps things fast during the dinner rush. The menu is littered with Italian varietals grown in the Pacific Northwest as well, with a house blend made special by McMinnville’s Remy Wines.
On the walls, the expected old-school Italian posters and ingredient paintings hang, but the white oak pizza peels on the wall were designed by Rob Slattery of contracting and design firm SINC PDX. Slattery is a friend of Ford’s, so he commissioned them himself.
The restaurant will have 62 seats, closer to 80 once the patio opens in the summer. Because Pizzeria sul Lago is at Lake View Village, the restaurant will have waterfront seating.
The outdoor space remains a work in progress, but soon tables with umbrellas and a potential bocce bar court will take over the outdoor patio space near the lake.
Pizzeria sul Lago will be open from 11:30 a.m. to close daily starting March 19.
Correction: March 15, 2017, 10:28 a.m.
This article was corrected to show that the restaurant will have 80 additional seats outside, not 80 total.
Update: March 15, 2017, 10:28 a.m.
This article was updated to include more information about the pizza options.