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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: October 22, 2014

Easy Day in South Portland serves up Detroit-style pizza that will turn your pizza world upside down

Written by: Ray Routhier
The Detroit-style chicken Caesar pizza with chicken, bacon, red onions, Caesar dressing, Romano and Parmesan cheese and romaine lettuce bacon and artichoke hearts.  Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer)

The Detroit-style chicken Caesar pizza with chicken, bacon, red onions, Caesar dressing, Romano and Parmesan cheese and romaine lettuce bacon and artichoke hearts. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer)

Easy Day has turned my family’s world upside down.

At least when it comes to pizza.

That’s because Easy Day, a bowling ally and restaurant which opened in March on Broadway in South Portland, serves something they call “Detroit-style” pizza. This style of pizza has the toppings on the bottom, but above the crust, covered by cheese and then sauce.


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Yes, the sauce is on top. Instead of being spread out like sauce on most pizzas, it’s kind of drizzled on top.

You wouldn’t think changing the position of ingredients would make that much of a difference, but it does. My daughters especially love the “upside down” pizza at Easy Day and ask frequently for repeat visits.

When we went for dinner recently, my 11-year-old daughter Sophie picked the toppings, or maybe fillings is a better word, and I thought they sounded odd: bacon and artichoke hearts. Yet, the salty chunks of smoked bacon mixed really well with the thin artichoke hearts, which were lightly toasted by the oven as they peeked through some cheese.

A pizza with bacon and artichoke hearts from Easy Day. Carl D. Walsh/Press Herald photo

A pizza with bacon and artichoke hearts from Easy Day. Carl D. Walsh/Press Herald photo

The crust on the pizza was also notable. It tasted to me more like a pastry, flaky and buttery, than a traditional pizza dough. The sauce, because it was on top, seemed to have more flavor, more tang, than the sauce in other pizzas I’ve had. Another difference between this pizza and most was that it was cut in squares, making it easier to handle.

Sophie and I split a large ($12 plus $3 for two toppings) and we had half of it. That left four pieces left over for lunch the next day.

While we ate, we gazed out large windows that allowed us to see the Fore River, the Casco Bay Bridge and downtown Portland. We could also see people on Easy Day’s patio playing “cornhole,” a game where you toss a bean bag into holes in a board. And beyond them we could see people strolling on South Portland’s Greenbelt Walkway.

If you want the view we had, you probably have to ask for it. There are also lots of tables near the bar and bowling lanes, which don’t share the same view. But being in the bowling area provides plenty to look at too, including the bowlers themselves and lots of big-screen TVs, most turned to sports when we were there.

The bowling lanes at Easy Day

The bowling lanes at Easy Day

The pizza menu at Easy Day offered some interesting combinations, like the Easy Day with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted garlic, red onions and sea salt. Then there is the chicken Caesar with chicken, bacon, red onions, Caesar dressing, Romano and Parmesan cheese and romaine lettuce.

And of course you can mix and match, with toppings/fillings that range from pepperoni, sausage and bacon, to feta cheese, goat cheese and banana peppers.

Easy Day also has thin-crust pizzas, wraps and sandwiches, burgers, and entrees like linguine and mussels ($15) or maple-bourbon pork loin ($15). Plus there are lots of appetizers, from nachos and wings to short rib sliders and Parmesan risotto cake.

View of Portland from the dining room at Easy Day in South Portland. Right outside the window can be seen a patio where patrons were playing a bean-bag toss kind of game called corn hole. Also seen is the Greenbelt Walkway path that goes along the water in South Portland. Ray Routhier photo.

View of Portland from the dining room at Easy Day in South Portland. Right outside the window can be seen a patio where patrons were playing a bean-bag toss kind of game called corn hole. Also seen is the Greenbelt Walkway path that goes along the water in South Portland. Ray Routhier photo.

It occurred to me that the dining room where we sat, with views of Portland, would be a great place to just have a beer and appetizers with friends. Usually when people think of a waterfront restaurant around Greater Portland, it’s looking away from Portland.

So I thought it was cool to be looking at Portland across the water for a change. It was a view of Portland I hadn’t seen before, while eating anyway.

And that tied in nicely with the upside down pizza, because I had not viewed pizza in that way before either.

But now I’ve seen both.

EASY DAY

WHERE: 725 Broadway, South Portland; 207-200-2226; easydaysopo.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
WAIT: About ten minutes.
PARKING: Yes.
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes.

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