North Portland is getting some love — and some pizza. New-Haven-meets-Portland pizza cart Gracie’s Apizza is currently helping develop a food cart pod on the corner of Denver and Interstate outside the closed Comfy Inn, which is getting a makeover. Once it opens this summer, the outdoor dining space will feature two carts: Gracie’s and a beer and wine cart, paired with plenty of outdoor seating; inside, the hotel should have around 17 rooms, all renovated from the abandoned hotel in that space.
“There’s nothing really like that in Kenton,” Gracie’s owner Craig Melillo says. Previously, a small food cart pod sat on the curve near the original Prince coffee location. Those carts have since left the area, according to Melillo. “If you don’t have seating and you don’t have booze, you’re not going to do well.” Melillo recently applied for a liquor license for the drink cart, which should serve the 40-to-50-seat area near contemporary art space Disjecta. The hotel doesn’t currently have a name, Melillo says, but it should be open in June or July.
Gracie’s Pizza, for those who haven’t tried it, is wood-fired, using a native-ferment starter with Washington flour. Its flavors stay pretty simple — classic New Haven, near where Melillo grew up — with toppings like pepperoni, onion, and house-made mozzarella.