Ken’s Artisan Pizza

Ken’s Artisan Empire expanded in 2006 to include this beautiful, bustling Southeast pizzeria where, even five years later, when one could arguably say the novelty has worn off, it’s still nearly impossible to walk in and sit down expeditiously.

Five years later, when one could arguably say the novelty has worn off, it’s still nearly impossible to walk in to Ken’s and sit down expeditiously.

The dining room is simple and light-filled, with huge wraparound windows that open to let the evening breeze in and furniture hewn of salvaged old-growth Douglas Fir from the late Jantzen Beach Big Dipper roller coaster.  The crown jewel of the room is the massive custom built pizza oven that bakes with such intensity that Ken’s celestial pizzas are cooked in a scant two minutes, the crust rendered perfectly chewy and blistered, the toppings barely disturbed.

Start your meal with a Caesar, Smoked Trout salad (house-smoked trout, pickled asparagus, radicchio, and creme fraiche) or wood oven roasted vegetable plate, then move on to the good stuff–my pizza of choice is the Spicy Soppressata with tomato, basil and mozzarella, but there are a dozen or so to choose from.

Ken’s has four beers on tap, and an impressive wine list offering over a hundred options, a fifth of those by the glass. A handful of uncomplicated desserts lend a sweet ‘n simple finish to the meal and let you linger just a few moments longer before you sympathetically concede your table to the next group, noting the familiar gleam of pizza lust shining in their eyes.

Details

Cuisine: Pizza

Executive Chef: Alan Maniscalco

Owner: Ken Forkish and Alan Maniscalco

Sous Chef: Joshua Zach

Pastry Chef: Shan Wickham

Atmosphere: A beautiful, light-filled, rustic neighborhood restaurant, the centerpiece of which is the gorgeous wood-fired oven that cooks your pizza.

Outdoor seating: Yes, sidewalk tables

Best Seat: In the window, particularly when they are open on a warm night.

Noise Level: Energetic-Boisterous

Dress Code: Casual

Bathrooms: Yes, all the way to the back, left hand side of the restaurant

Parking: Free and relatively plentiful on surrounding side streets

Cocktails: No

Beer: Yes

Wine: Yes, an extensive list of sparkling, rose, white, and red wines categorized by Pacific Northwest, Italy, France, and New Mexico. By the glass ($7-$9), the half bottle ($14-$46), and bottle ($26-$150).

Teetotalers: Traditional and artisan sodas

Coffee: Stumptown

Tea: Tao of Tea

Ideal Meal: Caesar salad and a spicy soppressata pizza, maybe two

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes

Vegan Friendly: Yes

Good for the following occasions: Out With Friends, Casual Date, Family Meal

Group/Private Party Details: Ken’s can seat groups of up to 10

Reservations: No

Take-Out: Takeout pizzas are available on a walk-in only basis, Sunday through Thursday

Delivery: No