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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: July 23, 2018

New Knightville location, same solid menu at SoPo House of Pizza

Written by: Ray Routhier

The South Portland House of Pizza’s new location on Waterman Drive near the Casco Bay Bridge. Photos by Ray Routhier

South Portland House of Pizza may have changed its location, but little else.

That’s good news for fans of the casual eatery, which had been a gathering spot for families in the Meetinghouse Hill and Willard Beach neighborhoods for 25 years before moving in late June. It’s also good news for people looking to find a new inexpensive place for a sandwich or pizza. The new location is in the city’s growing Knightville neighborhood, easy to find because it’s at the foot of the Casco Bay Bridge.

It’s also in the Mill Creek Shopping Center, near Shaw’s, so there’s plenty of easy parking. The old location was in a building with a Cumberland Farms market and gas station and had a relatively small lot. The Cumberland Farms is expanding, which is why SoPoHOP had to move.

The restaurant took its signs and many fixtures and moved them to the new location on Waterman Drive. So the look is similar, though the new space seems bigger, with high ceilings and a long, wide dining room. It also took the menu of pizza, calzones, oven grinders, subs, pasta and salads.

The new location has the classic casual house of pizza look of a generation or two ago, with booths lined up neatly, a couple TVs hanging from walls and an ordering counter at one end. You know it’s a family place because near the front window there’s a table with building bricks for kids to play with.

I had dinner there on a recent Saturday night with my family, after a day of chores that left me feeling like not cooking or thinking too much. That’s where the South Portland House of Pizza’s comfort food menu comes in.

Large chicken Parmesan sub at South Portland House of Pizza’s new location.

I had a hankering for the place’s subs and grinders, which many people have recommended to me over the years. I couldn’t make up my mind between a steak grinder ($11.35, large and loaded) or chicken Parmesan sub ($10.15 for a large.) So I ordered the chicken Parm then traded half to my wife for half of her steak grinder.

The steak grinder was exceptional, with very tender shreds of beef, melted cheese and grilled onions, mushrooms and green peppers. It was all stuffed into a very nice roll, soft and bready but crusty enough to not get soggy.

The chicken Parmesan, because of the sauce, was a little messier to eat. But the big chunks of white meat were tender, and the sauce was tangy. One large of each makes a pretty filling meal.

Small mushroom and garlic pizza at South Portland House of Pizza’s new location.

My daughters split a small garlic and mushroom pizza, for $14.25. They both love garlic, which is good, because it was very garlicky. The crust was especially good, buttery on the bottom, crispy on the edges. Even though it was small, they had several pieces left over to take home for breakfast (yes, we are excellent parents). And we also had about half of the chicken Parmesan for lunch the next day as well.

The places offers a wide range of pizza toppings, from gyro meat and feta cheese to broccoli, black olives, eggplant, meatball, chicken, spinach and salami. Other oven-baked grinders include a BLT, eggplant, Genoa salami, ham, meatball, roast beef, veal cutlet and several more. Grilled subs include cheeseburger with bacon, chicken souvlaki, hot pastrami, ham and egg and gyro.

Then there are pasta meals, spaghetti or ziti and red sauce with a choice of chicken, meatballs, eggplant, veal cutlet, sausages or something else. Most are $9.75.

Because of its location, it makes a good stop for take-out on your way to a beach, park or lighthouse in South Portland or Cape Elizabeth. As you come over the Casco Bridge, take the first exit and basically drive straight into the Mill Creek Shopping Center’s lot.

SOUTH PORTLAND HOUSE OF PIZZA

WHERE: 180 Waterman Drive, South Portland; 767-2300, sopohop.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
WAIT: About five to 10 minutes
PARKING: Yes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

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