The nature of a farmers market is, inherently, community-centric. Local farmers sell produce and meats they raised nearby, community members make food and art to sell, and neighbors develop relationships with the vendors, returning week after week to buy things from the people who grew, raised, or made them. Aaron and Natalie Truong got their start making and selling pizzas at the Beaverton Farmers Market; how fitting, then, that their new restaurant is filled with plants from a local nursery and a mural designed by a friend. Stephanie J. Choi painted the cartoon pizza slice taking a stroll with a takeout container, while Sarah & Hareld covered the greenery and pots throughout the space. On opening day, another friend — who runs the neighborhood Salt & Straw — scooped ice cream for visitors, and in the coming weeks, a Portland chef will start cooking specials for the restaurant. “We felt a lot of love and support for sure,” Aaron Truong says. “People kept saying, ‘We’ve been waiting for this.’”
Hapa Pizza, the new Beaverton pizzeria selling pies inspired by classic pan-Asian dishes, developed a serious following in its years at farmers markets. Back in 2021, the couple teased the possibility of opening a food cart in 2022; instead, the Truongs landed on a tiny, 18-seater space on Southwest Broadway. The restaurant opened on March 10 with lines out the door.
The farmers market regulars who visit the restaurant will see plenty of the pies that made Hapa Pizza a hit — the banh mi and pho pizzas, in particular. The banh mi pizza arrives topped with Vietnamese barbecue pork, pickled radish and carrots, and cilantro. The pho pizza starts with a pho broth, which serves both as a braising liquid for slow-cooked brisket and the foundation for the sauce at the base of the pie; it comes topped with onion, mozzarella cheese, cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, hoisin, and sriracha aioli.
Not all of the restaurant’s pizzas use Vietnamese food as a jumping off point, however. The tom yum pie pairs shrimp, mushrooms, and cilantro with a Thai red curry sauce, while the restaurant’s vegan pie uses massaman curry for inspiration. Traditionalists will also find standards here, like margherita, pepperoni, and cheese. However, the Truongs are planning on expanding the scope of their pizzas at the new place even further, as well — in the coming weeks, the pizzeria will start offering an okonomiyaki pizza, with cabbage, pork belly, fresh green onion, furikake, and bonito flake. “When they’re hot, [bonito flakes] dance a little bit, which will be cool,” Natalie Truong says.
All of Hapa Pizza’s pies rely on a 24-hour fermented pizza crust, which has a light, chewy texture akin to a Neapolitan pizza. In the restaurant’s new gas oven, the Truongs have more control over the heat of the pie, which allows them to keep the pizza in the oven longer — thus, the restaurant’s pizzas are a little crisper than the pies at the farmers market. “It’s still Neapolitan style, but it has that chewiness that we wanted to keep,” Aaron Truong says. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
Because the restaurant space is small, pizza specials will rotate in and out, and the farmers market will remain the place where devotees can taste the newest Truong creations before they hit the restaurant. The Truongs are currently playing with a tonkotsu pizza, and a “true Hawaiian.”
Beyond the pizza, the Truongs are inviting in Portland Thai chef Jidapa Cheyiam (Cha Ba Thai, Bai Mint Thai) to make one-off specials like salads, which the couple will call “Mama J’s specials.” “She is a phenomenal cook,” Aaron Truong says. “We’ll visit her shop, and she’ll say, ‘Oh, I made this mango rice, you should try some.’”
Hapa Pizza is now open at 12755 SW Broadway Street in Beaverton.