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A Detroit-style pizza from Assembly Brewing, with dollops of brick-red tomato sauce
Detroit-style pizza
Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

Where to Find Thick, Cheesy Square Pizzas in Portland

From Sicilian squares to Detroit-style pies

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Detroit-style pizza
| Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

Despite what some obnoxious pizza snobs may say, square pizzas can be found throughout Italy, from pizza al taglio sold by weight in Rome to tomato-and-anchovy-topped sfincione in Sicily. Italian immigrants brought recipes for these angular pies as they came to the Unites States, creating versions of old classics with the materials they found in their new hometowns. Pizzerias in New York started selling slabs of Sicilian, and Italian-Americans in Detroit began baking square pies in distinct blue-steel pans, topped with Wisconsin brick cheese. Here in Portland, we have our own versions of these styles of pies, from the nonna or grandma pies at Baby Doll and Scottie’s Pizza Parlor, to the cheesy-crusted, bombastic pies at Ranch, to the various bars and breweries selling their takes on Detroit-style pizza.

Local pizzaioli have tried to meet the high demand for these specialty pizzas, but their ability to get square pies into the hands of hungry customers is limited by the long process of proofing and baking, the amount of steel pans they own, and oven space. Ex Novo Brewing built a restaurant in Beaverton equipped with pizza ovens to increase output and make bigger pies. Other spots are still working on logistics, or are making tough choices in response to the ongoing pandemic: Pizza Doughnais is closed, but will reopen as a new pizzeria under the same ownership; it’s uncertain whether square pies will be part of the new pizza menu.

This mismatch between supply and demand means that those who still sell their popular deep dish pies often sell out, especially on weekends. All the pizzas eaten for this map were available when ordered on a Wednesday or Thursday at the time the restaurant opened; for weekends or special occasions, it helps to order ahead. Currently, most of these spots are takeout only, so pros know to plan on traveling with the pizza or finding a nearby place to park and eat. This map is not ranked; rather, it’s organized geographically.

A number of Portland restaurants have resumed onsite service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID update page. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ranch PDX, NW 21st

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916 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 202-7324
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A life-size cut out of the patron saint of square pie, Huey “It’s Hip to Be Square” Lewis, stands near the entrance of Ranch PDX’s Woodlawn location. Owners, Eric Wood and Richard Corey, created their pizza to satisfy a nostalgic craving for the pizza dipped in ranch they ate as children at Roundtable and Papa’s Pizza. They modified these fast food pies for adult tastes by creating a cloud-like deep dish crust, topping it with aged mozzarella, and adding complex and spicy toppings for a more mature palate. The #4 with pork sausage and Calabrian chilies tastes complete when cooled with a generous dousing of Ranch PDX’s dill-forward ranch dressing. Ranch PDX has three other locations, including this location in Nob Hill. After ordering online, customers are given a three digit code to use when picking up the pizza; the shop is also open for delivery.

2. Ex Novo Brewing Co.

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2326 N Flint Ave
Portland, OR 97227
(503) 894-8251
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The entire Detroit pizza at this Eliot neighborhood brewery equals the size of one slice of pizza at Detroit chain Buddy’s Pizza, but larger versions of this square pie are available at the brewery’s new Beaverton location, built with pizza ovens designed to increase pizza output. Detroit pizzas here start with dough made specially for Ex Novo by Fressen Artisan Bakery, followed by a mix of cheese, including Wisconsin brick cheese. That blend melts and spills over the sides forming a cheesy layer around the crust as it bakes in real-deal Lloyd steel pans. Both locations are open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout.

3. Pop Pizza

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610 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 206-8421
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The inside of this Buckman spot looks like a factory assembly line, with mountainous stacks of brightly logo-ed pizza boxes and a counter covered with neat lines of small plastic containers of sauces and dressings. It’s fitting design for a place that pulls inspiration from the ultimate factory town: Detroit. Pop’s crust is light in the middle and crunchy on the bottom with the Detroit signature crunchy cheese around the sides. Fresh salads and chewy squares of chocolate chip cookies go well before and after eating the pizza. It’s open for takeout and delivery.

4. Handsome Pizza

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1603 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 247-7499
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Handsome Pizza’s square pie arrives every Wednesday, a pan-baked pizza coming in styles like Margherita and Marinara. Baking the pizza in a steel pan adds a crispy, charred-cheese edge. Customers can add additional toppings like Mama Lil’s hot peppers, preserved lemon, and rosemary to modify the restaurant’s offerings or to create a new and distinct topping mix. For beginners, the mozzarella, garlic, oregano, and ricotta is a good place to start. A 20 percent living wage fee is automatically added to all menu items. The restaurant and bakery is open for takeout and delivery.

5. Scottie's Pizza Parlor

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2128 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(971) 544-7878
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When Scottie Rivera decided to open his own pizzeria, he wanted to recreate something he thought was missing from the Portland pizza scene - the square slices abundant in his hometown of Brooklyn. He gave this special pie on his menu his great-grandmother’s last name — Defino. The Defino starts with naturally leavened dough made with Pacific Northwest wheat, baked in a high-heat electric deck two times: The first baking at super high heat gives the crust char and blistering, while the second baking, on a lower temperature, gives it a nice crisp crust. When the pizza comes out of the oven, Rivera adds garlic-infused olive oil, a forest of fresh basil, and a dusting of pecorino. The basil smell permeates the closed pizza box, making it absolutely necessary to tear it open and grab a slice immediately. Scottie’s is open for takeout.

6. Boxcar Pizza

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2701 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 954-2836
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Odie O’Connor started his vegan pizza empire making wood-fired pizzas at his SE Hawthorne food truck Baby Blue. After shutting down the truck at the beginning of the pandemic, O’Connor bought a blue steel pan and started experimenting with Detroit pizza. Fortuitously, a spot became available in The Zipper, where O’Connor opened Boxcar Pizza with vegan square pies that often sell out. Creating the distinctive crust of cheese around the sides proved difficult with lower fat vegan cheese, but after playing around with the dough, O’Connor achieved a vegan version of the Detroit classic. The Bianca, with Good Planet mozzarella and Boxcar’s own spicy, fennel-packed Italian sauce and tofu-based ricotta, certainly tastes vegan — the coconut flavor of the mozzarella gives away its plant-based origins — but still, the sweetness of the coconut and heat of the tomato sauce adds an interesting interplay of flavors. Boxcar is open for takeout, with shared outdoor seating available at the Zipper.

7. Baby Doll Pizza

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2835 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 459-4450
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Enthusiastic twenty-somethings in overalls and tie dye serve pepperoni pies, sandwiches, and squares from this popular pizza spot frequented by Central Catholic students and SE Stark neighbors. Baby Doll’s giant nonna pie has an airy, thick crust painted with a mild tomato sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. The crust is thicker than many of the other pies on this list, but it retains its lightness despite the size. Nonna pies come with choice of three toppings, including house Italian sausage, Kalamata olives, and house ricotta. Baby Doll is open for takeout and delivery.

8. Assembly Brewing

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6112 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206
(971) 888-5973
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Assembly Brewing’s pizza is the Detroit-est of all the local Detroit pizzas. Owner George Johnson hails from Detroit and sought to replicate his hometown pizza after moving to Portland. Johnson trained with Shawn Randazzo, who learned his Detroit-style pizza skills from the Guerra family — the originators of Detroit pizza. The result tastes exactly like Buddy’s Pizza: a pillowy crust, crisp on the bottom, surrounded by oven-blackened Wisconsin brick cheese, and topped with a dollop of chunky tomato sauce flavored with fresh herbs from Johnson’s home garden. To give his brewery a special Detroit feel, Johnson hired Portland artist Theo Holdt to create a mural inspired by the famous Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Murals found at the Detroit Institute of Art. Assembly Brewing is open for takeout.

9. East Glisan Pizza Lounge

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8001 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97213
(971) 279-4273
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When East Glisan co-owner Kristen Brown saw Detroit pizza pop up in food blogs and on social media, she decided to try serving it on a Tuesday night, to see if there was any local interest. A crowd of ex-Detroiters flooded the bar; soon, it became a hit with pizza aficionados throughout Portland. Now, Detroit pizza is a regular menu item at this neighborhood spot. These deep-dish square pies come in eight-inch-by-ten-inch squares, with four slices blanketed in mozzarella and Wisconsin brick cheese that slide around the edges while cooking, creating the distinctive lacy caramelized cheese perimeter characteristic of Detroit pizza. East Glisan is open for outdoor dining and takeout; for to-go orders, tomato sauce comes on the side to prevent sogginess.

1. Ranch PDX, NW 21st

916 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

A life-size cut out of the patron saint of square pie, Huey “It’s Hip to Be Square” Lewis, stands near the entrance of Ranch PDX’s Woodlawn location. Owners, Eric Wood and Richard Corey, created their pizza to satisfy a nostalgic craving for the pizza dipped in ranch they ate as children at Roundtable and Papa’s Pizza. They modified these fast food pies for adult tastes by creating a cloud-like deep dish crust, topping it with aged mozzarella, and adding complex and spicy toppings for a more mature palate. The #4 with pork sausage and Calabrian chilies tastes complete when cooled with a generous dousing of Ranch PDX’s dill-forward ranch dressing. Ranch PDX has three other locations, including this location in Nob Hill. After ordering online, customers are given a three digit code to use when picking up the pizza; the shop is also open for delivery.

916 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209

2. Ex Novo Brewing Co.

2326 N Flint Ave, Portland, OR 97227

The entire Detroit pizza at this Eliot neighborhood brewery equals the size of one slice of pizza at Detroit chain Buddy’s Pizza, but larger versions of this square pie are available at the brewery’s new Beaverton location, built with pizza ovens designed to increase pizza output. Detroit pizzas here start with dough made specially for Ex Novo by Fressen Artisan Bakery, followed by a mix of cheese, including Wisconsin brick cheese. That blend melts and spills over the sides forming a cheesy layer around the crust as it bakes in real-deal Lloyd steel pans. Both locations are open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout.

2326 N Flint Ave
Portland, OR 97227

3. Pop Pizza

610 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

The inside of this Buckman spot looks like a factory assembly line, with mountainous stacks of brightly logo-ed pizza boxes and a counter covered with neat lines of small plastic containers of sauces and dressings. It’s fitting design for a place that pulls inspiration from the ultimate factory town: Detroit. Pop’s crust is light in the middle and crunchy on the bottom with the Detroit signature crunchy cheese around the sides. Fresh salads and chewy squares of chocolate chip cookies go well before and after eating the pizza. It’s open for takeout and delivery.

610 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214

4. Handsome Pizza

1603 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97211

Handsome Pizza’s square pie arrives every Wednesday, a pan-baked pizza coming in styles like Margherita and Marinara. Baking the pizza in a steel pan adds a crispy, charred-cheese edge. Customers can add additional toppings like Mama Lil’s hot peppers, preserved lemon, and rosemary to modify the restaurant’s offerings or to create a new and distinct topping mix. For beginners, the mozzarella, garlic, oregano, and ricotta is a good place to start. A 20 percent living wage fee is automatically added to all menu items. The restaurant and bakery is open for takeout and delivery.

1603 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211

5. Scottie's Pizza Parlor

2128 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

When Scottie Rivera decided to open his own pizzeria, he wanted to recreate something he thought was missing from the Portland pizza scene - the square slices abundant in his hometown of Brooklyn. He gave this special pie on his menu his great-grandmother’s last name — Defino. The Defino starts with naturally leavened dough made with Pacific Northwest wheat, baked in a high-heat electric deck two times: The first baking at super high heat gives the crust char and blistering, while the second baking, on a lower temperature, gives it a nice crisp crust. When the pizza comes out of the oven, Rivera adds garlic-infused olive oil, a forest of fresh basil, and a dusting of pecorino. The basil smell permeates the closed pizza box, making it absolutely necessary to tear it open and grab a slice immediately. Scottie’s is open for takeout.

2128 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

6. Boxcar Pizza

2701 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232

Odie O’Connor started his vegan pizza empire making wood-fired pizzas at his SE Hawthorne food truck Baby Blue. After shutting down the truck at the beginning of the pandemic, O’Connor bought a blue steel pan and started experimenting with Detroit pizza. Fortuitously, a spot became available in The Zipper, where O’Connor opened Boxcar Pizza with vegan square pies that often sell out. Creating the distinctive crust of cheese around the sides proved difficult with lower fat vegan cheese, but after playing around with the dough, O’Connor achieved a vegan version of the Detroit classic. The Bianca, with Good Planet mozzarella and Boxcar’s own spicy, fennel-packed Italian sauce and tofu-based ricotta, certainly tastes vegan — the coconut flavor of the mozzarella gives away its plant-based origins — but still, the sweetness of the coconut and heat of the tomato sauce adds an interesting interplay of flavors. Boxcar is open for takeout, with shared outdoor seating available at the Zipper.

2701 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97232

7. Baby Doll Pizza

2835 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214

Enthusiastic twenty-somethings in overalls and tie dye serve pepperoni pies, sandwiches, and squares from this popular pizza spot frequented by Central Catholic students and SE Stark neighbors. Baby Doll’s giant nonna pie has an airy, thick crust painted with a mild tomato sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. The crust is thicker than many of the other pies on this list, but it retains its lightness despite the size. Nonna pies come with choice of three toppings, including house Italian sausage, Kalamata olives, and house ricotta. Baby Doll is open for takeout and delivery.

2835 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97214

8. Assembly Brewing

6112 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206

Assembly Brewing’s pizza is the Detroit-est of all the local Detroit pizzas. Owner George Johnson hails from Detroit and sought to replicate his hometown pizza after moving to Portland. Johnson trained with Shawn Randazzo, who learned his Detroit-style pizza skills from the Guerra family — the originators of Detroit pizza. The result tastes exactly like Buddy’s Pizza: a pillowy crust, crisp on the bottom, surrounded by oven-blackened Wisconsin brick cheese, and topped with a dollop of chunky tomato sauce flavored with fresh herbs from Johnson’s home garden. To give his brewery a special Detroit feel, Johnson hired Portland artist Theo Holdt to create a mural inspired by the famous Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Murals found at the Detroit Institute of Art. Assembly Brewing is open for takeout.

6112 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206

9. East Glisan Pizza Lounge

8001 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97213

When East Glisan co-owner Kristen Brown saw Detroit pizza pop up in food blogs and on social media, she decided to try serving it on a Tuesday night, to see if there was any local interest. A crowd of ex-Detroiters flooded the bar; soon, it became a hit with pizza aficionados throughout Portland. Now, Detroit pizza is a regular menu item at this neighborhood spot. These deep-dish square pies come in eight-inch-by-ten-inch squares, with four slices blanketed in mozzarella and Wisconsin brick cheese that slide around the edges while cooking, creating the distinctive lacy caramelized cheese perimeter characteristic of Detroit pizza. East Glisan is open for outdoor dining and takeout; for to-go orders, tomato sauce comes on the side to prevent sogginess.

8001 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97213

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