This upcoming Portland pizzeria specializes in folded Neapolitan pizzas. Rick Steves is to thank

A new Portland pizzeria coming this fall will specialize in Neapolitan pizza, with portafoglio (wallet-style) folded pizzas sold through a takeout window by day, and more straightforward pies served in the dining room at night.

And travel host Rick Steves is to thank.

Seriously.

Early in the pandemic, marketer Maya Setton and her husband Chris Flanagan were watching TV and brainstorming how they would afford daycare for their second child, who was already on the way.

“So we’re sitting on the couch watching Rick Steves in Italy, and there was this 30-second blip on the screen where you see him show up and get one of these portafoglios,” Setton said. “And it was like, ‘That’s it, that’s brilliant: It’s portable. It’s made for the common person. We need to bring this to Portland.’”

One big thing working in the couple’s favor: Flanagan is a chef with a long resume of cooking experience at Portland’s since-closed Ten-01 and Tabla, Oregon wine country’s Dundee Bistro and, more recently, at Mt. Hood Brewing’s Tilikum Station, a brewpub and pizzeria in Southeast Portland.

Flanagan dove into the idea, eventually flying to Southern California to attend classes through the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, where he says he earned a certification for his Neapolitan pizza skill. Grana — full name: Grana Pizza Napoletana — launched as a pop-up at the Vancouver Farmers Market last year, then snagged a spot at the Saturday market at Portland State University, closer to the duo’s Southwest Portland home.

(The pair also hosted a fateful one-off at Montelupo, the Northeast 28th Avenue restaurant from Flanagan’s former Tabla boss Adam Berger, in 2022, when I first heard of Grana. According to Setton, the lines for that event — Grana’s first Portland pop-up — stretched for blocks, despite Flanagan cooking pizzas as fast as possible in their portable Ooni ovens.)

“It was like a Backstreet Boys concert,” Setton said. “There was a two-hour wait for a three-minute pizza.”

When it came time to open a brick-and-mortar, the duo originally had their eyes on a Southwest Portland storefront near their home, but their realtor steered them to the former Pizzicato on East Burnside Street instead. The size felt right, so they signed up.

Now Setton and Flanagan must wait for their Pavesi RPM 120 oven to be delivered and installed before they can complete a remodel on the space, something they hope will be accomplished by October. In the meantime, they will cut back on catering, festivals and other events, while continuing their schedule at the PSU Farmers Market.

Along with Northeast Portland’s great Reeva food truck, Portland now has two pizzerias that offer portafoglio pizza, a popular street food in Naples, where — as briefly demonstrated in that “Rick Steves’ Europe” clip — outdoor vendors quickly fold and wrap 12-inch pizzas in paper for a handy walking snack. But where Reeva chef Roberto Hernandez Guerrero’s signature item is a pizza-based spin on Honduran baleadas (he also makes a fantastic margherita), Grana plans to stick to more traditional toppings.

At lunch, Grana will offer two or three folded pizzas from its takeout window, including a classic marinara, a margherita and perhaps a spicy diavola. At dinner, customers ordering and paying through a QR code will choose from five pizzas, including a chalkboard special, each cooked at high heat in around 90 seconds, as well as a few wood-fired small bites, a salad, a dessert and a short list of Italian wines. Despite the modern ordering system, other service elements will be in place at night, Setton said, including a host to seat guests, table-side wine pours and no bussing of dishes required.

When it opens, Grana will join Portland’s already impressiveand still evolving — pizza scene, with a location just a short walk from at least five pizzerias, including Ken’s and its ever-present line.

And it all happened because of a brief snippet of B-roll from a public TV travel show.

“We are forever indebted to Rick Steves for that one,” Setton said.

Grana PDX plans to open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday starting on Oct. 14 (oven delivery permitting), at 2811 E. Burnside St., granapdx.com

Read more:

Someone said Portland had the best pizza scene in America? Here we go again

Portland’s 10 best pandemic-time pizzerias

Reeva, with flavors from Honduras to Peru, ranks among Portland’s best wood-fired pizzerias

Portland’s 5 best new pizzerias of 2023

— Michael Russell; mrussell@oregonian.com

Our journalism needs your support. Please become a subscriber today at OregonLive.com/subscribe

If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation. By browsing this site, we may share your information with our social media partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

By info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *