Last week, Brian and I met up with friends in the "Pearl District" of Portland at Oven and Shaker.
Described as an urban saloon, Oven and Shaker is the brainchild of bartender Ryan Magarian and Nostrana Chef, Cathy Whims (5-time James Beard Award Finalist).
The space in the pearl is huge! 3,200 square feet of wood and steel with thousands of dollars in liquor behind the bar (hence the name "shaker"). Seating is abundant with three long rows, one of tables, one row at the bar and one of tall, skinny tables in between (plus window seating looking out onto Everett St.).
The huge space is taken up by attentive waitstaff (on this night) buzzing around to some really cool 80's mix (I've read other reviews that give the music mix a big thumbs down, but who can go wrong with everything from INXS to Guns and Roses).
But onto the real reason we came.......booze and pizza!
I am not much of a cocktail person, but lots of energy has been spent on creating cocktails that pair nicely with pizza (is that possible?). Magarian breaks his cocktails into three categories, fresh, dry and strong (although the Margarita I had could fit into all three). Cocktails range between $8-$10, with Happy Hour specials daily.
As for the food, I was surprised at the size of the menu...certainly NOT overwhelming. I would also mention to try and hit the place up at Happy Hour as the pizzas are almost half price (with discounts on cocktails as well)!
Oven and Shaker's pizza oven came from Italy...enough said. We had three pizzas between the 4 of us and ate every bite (along with an awesome radicchio Caesar salad). We settled on a Wild Fennel Sausage and a Salami Pizza (spicy with a drizzle of honey on the top of the crust).
Whim's pies include her devotion to the Northwest food scene and offer some nontraditional toppings (next time back, I might try the Octo pie with fresh octopus).
Oven and Shaker: 1134 NW Everett St., 241-1600. 4 pm-midnight nightly.