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Capitol Hill food+drink | Portland’s Sizzle Pie bringing Burnside hip and pizza brunch to E Union

(Images: Sizzle Pie)

Straight outta Burnside, a Portland pizza bar known for late hours (including delivery until 3 AM — and 4 AM on the weekends), pizza brunch, and a wide selection including gluten free and vegan pies is coming to Capitol Hill.

Sizzle Pie Capitol Hill will open in the former home of the Auto Battery sports bar and Po Dog hot dogs after the duo shuttered last week.

Sizzle Pie is about to opens its fourth Portland-area location and also has a joint in Eugene. The company was said to be “scouting” Seattle.

Founded by Portland food and drink entrepreneurs Matt Jacobson and Mikey McKennedy, Sizzle Pie will look to bring its brand of Portland-style hip and “Voodoo pizza” to the backside of Pike/Pine in an area poised for a massive shift in a wave of major restaurant, bar, and brewery investments. Last week, CHS showed you inside one of the ambitious projects involved in Pike/Pine’s southern march as Chop Shop opened on 11th Ave.

It will join an area south of E Pike busy with new food and drink. John Sundstrom started the year opening his anchor creation in the Central Agency building with a new home for Lark, the Bitter/Raw fresh bar, and Slab Sandwiches. Across the street from Sizzle’s future home, Renee Erickson’s dual triple concept project  — “an oyster bar focused on flavors of the French Atlantic and a Parisian-style café” and… doughnuts — is aiming for an October opening in the Broadstone Infinity building. Optimism Brewing continues to build out its brewing facility, food truck park, and tasting room on Broadway at E Union. And a new “bike shop + training facility + cafe” is also set to move in.

As for Po Do and Auto Battery, the closures mark the final severance of entrepreneur Laura Olson’s ties to the neighborhood. Olson opened Po Dogs on E Union in fall 2009. By that winter, Olson was already gearing up for expansion in a flurry of activity that included the opening of Manhattan Drugs on 12th Ave. Almost as quickly, pieces of the new ventures began to be taken over or closed. The 2013 business implosion around E Olive Way nightclub The Social was also part of the boom and bust. Other components of the Olson empire including 11th Ave’s Grim’s have since been jettisoned. The shuttered ventures carry serious financial implications. A warrant issued in May showed the Social ownership owed nearly $30,000 in unpaid taxes to the state and a $54,000 lawsuit over unpaid rent for the club was finally satisfied this spring, according to court records. Meanwhile, a judge in April dismissed a 2013 lawsuit brought by a man who claimed bouncers at Grim’s didn’t intervene to stop a serious beating.

For the Portland-based pizza chain, the trajectory is currently up, up, up. The recipe at Sizzle Pie might remind many of Big Mario’s which opened on E Pike in 2010 and Jacobson and McKennedy’s Portland projects in many ways mirror the creations of Mario owners Dave Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse who are currently busy preparing Ernest Loves Agnes for its opening later this summer on 19th Ave E. Lajeunesse, of course, also has his hands full with producing the 2015 Capitol Hill Block Party which opens Friday. Sizzle Pie Capitol Hill will be much bigger compared to the current Big Mario’s space. The 5,000+ square feet that were home to Auto Battery and Po Dog are being transformed in a project designed by Mallet Architecture. Work at the site has not yet begun. We’re reaching out to Sizzle Pie to learn more about their plans for opening and more on the new project.

You can learn more at

Capitol Hill food+drink

  • CHS broke the news about Renee Erickson’s first major Capitol Hill project planned for 11th and Union way back in January. Now the secrets have been revealed with names and details of the three-headed venture planned to open this fall:
    Bar Melusine: Named for the mythical French water spirit, Bar Melusine will be focused on the flavors of Normandy and Brittany.Bateau: In-house butchered and dry aged beef, grass fed and long finished from Sea Creatures’ La Ferme des Anes, will anchor Bateau.General Porpoise Doughnuts and Coffee: Doughnuts will be made with fresh eggs from La Ferme des Anes chickens and will be filled with seasonal jams, jellies, curds, and custards. Expect classic flavors like dark chocolate or vanilla custard; as well as new favorites like tomato and tarragon jam, roasted lemon curd, nectarine and bay leaf jelly, huckleberry and long pepper jam, and more.
  • Typical Capitol Hill. For the longest time, Top Pot held down the doughnut/donut fort. By the end of the year, we’ll have Rodeo Donuts at Cupcake Royale, the aforementioned General Porpoise Doughnuts, and, yup, Mighty-O in the former High 5 Pie space at 12th and Madison.
  • NYT does Stateside: “At a recent dinner, Mr. Johnson’s commitment to achieving a depth of seasoning was evident in a variety of dishes. In the cha ca la vong, delicate black cod was prepared in a turmeric-galangal marinade, with fermented sticky rice added for an extra tangy punch.”
  • First Hill’s Lotus Asian Kitchen and Lounge shuttered by the health department.
  • You can now enjoy the Hopvine IPA without going to the Hopvine.
  • Refresh Frozen Desserts plans an August opening in a former big chain fro-yo shop on Broadway.
  • The final chapter for Spinasse’s downtown sibling has come. In an announcement sent out Monday morning, the ownership group behind Vespolina said they are shuttering the 96 Union restaurant. CHS reported on chef Jason Stratton’s exit from the company earlier this year as a construction lawsuit claimed a contractor on the downtown project was not paid more than $170,000. Stratton will step out of the kitchen for his next gig after he was hired as the general manager at Melrose’s Mamnoon. In the announcement, Vepolina management said it hopes to “merge” employees into Spinasse: “We have a great team in place at Vespolina; we will support our staff in this transition and we will look to merge as many employees as possible into Spinasse and Artusi.”


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9 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Portland’s Sizzle Pie bringing Burnside hip and pizza brunch to E Union

  1. As an east coast native, you can never have too many pizza places in your hood. I love Big Marios and Via Trib but excited to have Sizzle Pie in the mix. Welcome to the neighborhood!


    your seattle living portland girl

    *If we could just bring some of the hot fucking portland dudes here.. Life would be grand!

  3. It’s amazing the amount of eclectic development which is going in between Pike and Madison, from12th to Broadway. I had a little walk around the area yesterday (as well as a delicious sandwich at Meat&Bread), and was most impressed….alot of it is still being built, but what is there is great. That area was kind of an urban wasteland….no more!

    • I like some of the development, but part of me will miss the urban wasteland! Undiscovered spaces have their place in a neighborhood, too.

  4. I love pizza but I also love healthy food. I still grieve The Gravity Bar. I keep hoping some entrepreneur opens up a place where I can get some simple, healthy food. That place on 12th is too pricey.