Welcome to Dining Confidential, a monthly column in which local chefs talk about their favorite places in Portland, highlighting their own restaurant’s ethos, sharing fun personal takes, and fostering a community spirit. Know of a chef you’d like to see featured? Let us know via our tip line.
Shardell Dues of Red Sauce Pizza likes to keep her eponymous sauce as simple and high-quality as possible. “We don’t really do much to it,” says Dues. “We use a good canned tomato, herbs, some sea salt, some fresh garlic.” This philosophy extends to nearly everything else on the menu — “Really good cheese, good flour, Revel Meat’s summer sausage all-beef pepperoni. We smoke our own Canadian bacon, grind down pork butts and make sausage, use local farms for the salads, we like to try to do it all.”
Eater: There are a lot of specialty pizza people who are like “I make 20 pies a night and then I’m done.” But one look at your menu and you can tell that’s not the case here.
Shardell Dues: We’re doing about 150 to 200 pizzas a night.
That’s a huge accomplishment.
We’re a busy restaurant. We do a lot of DoorDash delivery, we’ve got the patio. We’re not doing indoor dining right now, but we don’t need to — it’s just too risky right now. I leave it to the staff. Who wants to be scared of work? I don’t want people to have anxiety, I don’t wanna be the person that does that. Sometimes chefs are really serious. It feels like such serious business, even though it’s not. It’s not fair for people to be in panic mode and not enjoy their shift.
It’s good to go to a restaurant where happy people work. Also, it’s good to go to a pizza place where I can feel not-embarrassed about eating pizza with pineapple, because you have two! That makes me feel good.
I love pineapple. I’m obsessed with pineapple. I know people like to have a lot of opinions…
So, where are some of your favorite places to go out?
I feel like I haven’t gone out dining in two years.
What are the places that are so in your groove, in your routine, that you don’t even think of it as going out?
Nong’s Khao Man Gai is my go-to delivery order. I love their coconut soft serve. I love DoorDash-ing sweet-and-sour chicken and mushroom fried rice from Eem. It’s pretty economical; even with delivery fee and tip it feeds two people for like forty bucks. On DoorDash? Even with all the fees? That’s a steal.
Where do you eat in your neighborhood?
If I wanna go out for some drinks with my friends, Hi-Top Tavern down the street has an amazing patio, pretty good nachos, and great margaritas. I like that spot Peter’s Bar & Grill on the corner up there, it’s just a little dive bar-meets-Red Robin kind of vibe: chill for older or younger people. They’ve got a great burger and tater tots.
What’s your coffee standby?
I’m big on coffee; gotta have two a day. Guilder is the best. They roast their beans in-house and it’s special, it’s just not like any other. They’re doing affogato right now too, with a little scoop of ice cream. Bison Coffeehouse is a Native American-owned coffee shop on Cully Boulevard and their coffee is wonderful. They offer you the choice of light, medium, or dark roast and Loretta bakes all the pastries in house. Don’t skip the coffee cake or bison sugar cookie.
What are your favorite spots for lunch?
I started doing this strength weight training and I’m so fucking hungry, I really need a burrito and I really don’t wanna be disappointed for my lunch. My go-to is Loncheria Los Mayas on Prescott; I go there probably two or three times a week. I get the chicken burrito, extra sour cream, no lettuce. Or, I get the cochinita pibil, a very slow-cooked pork shoulder. Their sauces are full of flavor, they salt everything, it’s amazing. The family that runs it takes the weekends off. They do it right.
Where do you go for comfort food?
XLB, that’s my comfort food. The Shanghai pork and shrimp noodles, their dumplings, the bao buns are just so comforting to me. I love that place, and I feel like it’s underrated. Also, Rangoon Bistro – the chicken danbauk and pork & pickled mango curry are to die for.
What about late-night drinks?
Expatriate is my favorite. I’m not a heavy drinker, but if I go there, I’ll have three cocktails. The Burmese tea salad is so fresh, the textures and the crunch — on a hot day you wanna eat that. I always order the cheeseburger and fries. It’s a really fun date night spot.
And what’s for dessert?
I’m such a chocolate person. Papa Hadyn has the best German chocolate cake in town, they’re classic. Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen is amazing, she does a lot for our community. She makes bomb banana pudding and 7 Up cake. She can cook on such a large scale, I’m like, “How the fuck do you even do that?” It’s hard to cook in a cart, period. I’ve got, like, two buildings and a patio and it’s hard.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.