When I saw the Pawtuckaway Parmesan pizza on the menu at Portland Pie Co., I thought, “Wow, they really get me.”
The pizza combines all of my lunch-time favorites – pizza, meatball subs and chicken Parm sandwiches. It’s as if Portland Pie Co. has known me all my life.
I have, in fact, known Portland Pie for more than 20 years, ever since it opened its first small shop in 1997. When I ventured into the Maine chain’s Scarborough location the other day for lunch, I was reminded of just how good, and creative, its pizza is.
The Scarborough location is in the same parking lot as the massive Cabela’s hunting and fishing store, off Payne Road. The exterior has a hunting-lodge feel and the interior is comfortable, with a fireplace, a bar and lots of seating.
But the attraction, for me anyway, is to be able to have a quick pizza lunch that is high in quality and creativity. Less than 15 minutes after ordering, I had my pizza, a 10-inch for $12.49. It was served on a long-handled wooden pizza paddle.
The crust was light and airy, buttery on the bottom and tender like a fresh loaf of warm bread inside. It featured a marinara sauce with meatballs, cut in half and browned from the oven, plus crispy chunks of breaded chicken cutlets. The cheeses included provolone, Parmesan and a three-cheese blend. The whole thing was topped with leaves of sweet basil.
The 10-inch is probably big enough for two lunches for most people. But I only managed to save two slices to take home for a future meal.
The Scarborough location is pretty convenient, right off the Maine Turnpike and near the Maine Mall. But then again, it’s easy to find a Portland Pie Co. all over southern Maine and beyond. The company has locations in Portland, Biddeford, Westbrook, Brunswick and Manchester, N.H. A new place is planned for Waterville sometime this spring.
Portland Pie Co. is full of other specialty pies that combine various fun comfort foods. There’s the Crescent Beach Cheeseburger pizza, with a ketchup and mustard base, American cheese, hamburger, onion, bacon, Montreal steak seasoning, a three-cheese blend, plus romaine lettuce, sesame seeds and pickles.
The Monhegan steak bomb has steak, mushrooms, onion and green pepper sautéed in garlic and a three-cheese blend. The Harbormaster BBQ has a red sauce, chicken smothered in barbecue sauce, caramelized onions and smoked bacon, with the three-cheese blend. In all, there are some 15 specialty pies on the menu.
Of course, you can also pick your own toppings. Some of the more unusual pizza toppings on Portland Pie’s menu include goat cheese, blue cheese crumble, roasted walnut, apple, pear and artichoke.
The menu also includes pasta dishes, calzones, appetizers, soups, salads and toasted sandwiches.
Though I was really in the mood for pizza, a couple of the sandwiches caught my eye as potential future meals. One was the Vinalhaven Thanksgiving ($10.99) with roasted turkey, rosemary stuffing and cranberry sauce. Another was the Eagle Ridge steak bomb.
Portland Pie Co. also has a large rotating selection of craft brews, including local ones. A few of those include Allagash, Banded Horn, Bunker, Dirigo, Liquid Riot, Lone Pine, Oxbow and Rising Tide.
But keeping with my personal theme of combing all my favorite things into a pizza – chicken parm and meatballs, noted above – Portland Pie Co. lets you put beer right into the crust of the pizza.
They really do get me.
WHERE: 400 Expedition Drive, Scarborough; 510-6999, portlandpie.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
WAIT: Ten to 15 minutes at lunch
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes
WHAT ELSE: Portland Pie Co. also has locations in Portland, Biddeford, Westbrook, Brunswick and Manchester, N.H.