This Pizzeria In Oregon Always Has A Line Out The Door, Echoing Its Irresistible Taste

Lovely's Fifty Fifty sign

Over the last couple decades, Mississippi Street in North Portland has grown to become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in town due to its close proximity to downtown and wealth of diverse shops, bars, and restaurants. To have lasting power on this street, you need to be good and only a few establishments have shown they can really stand the test of time. One such is Lovely’s Fifty Fifty—an odd name to be sure, but once you see what they have to offer you won’t be able to stay away. 

pizza + egg
Eggs and flowers on pizza - oh my!, Rachel Sinit Google Local

Since 2010, Lovely’s has been a family-owned, neighborhood pizza shop that specializes in doing two things remarkably well—pizza and ice cream. They only use the highest quality ingredients, sourcing their produce direct and only from Oregon farms and following a slow sourdough method that naturally leavens all their doughs. This practice takes time, but the result is a phenomenally good crust that is both crispy and soft, and leads diners to describe it as “life changing.”

dining room
Dining Room, Vivek K. Google Local

Lovely’s Fifty Fifty is the brainchild of chef Sarah Minnick, who first started her restaurant venture in 2003 with Lovely Hula Hands which closed in 2009 during the recession. But Minnick wasn’t giving up her dream! Only two weeks later she opened Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, which truly is a family affair with Minnick’s sister working as a host, her mother working as the accountant, and even her teenage daughter lending a hand. The pizza shop has since received both local and national attention with an entire episode of Chef’s Table dedicated to Minnick’s unique style. 

In 2021, a Bloomberg interview with Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, the minds behind "Modernist Pizza," brought Portland into the limelight as America's top pizza destination. This bold statement, partly attributed to the acclaimed Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, sparked widespread media attention and ignited heated debates. Critics and pizza aficionados alike questioned how Portland, often overshadowed by traditional pizza strongholds like New York City and Chicago, could claim this coveted title.

delicious pizza
Pizza Tom T. Google Local

Portland does not lack for pizza restaurants, and Minnick certainly does not fall into the trap of selling the same variation of pies. Her pizza toppings are non-traditional and unlike a classic pizza, she uses relatively little cheese and sauce (many don’t have any sauce), instead focusing on surprising toppings based on plants she’s foraged (even wild flowers) or local produce she’s come across at the farmer’s market that she’ll then shuttle to her restaurant on her bike. 

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fresh salad
Fresh salad, Stephen Handrahan Google Local

The menu changes weekly and sometimes even daily. On any given day you’ll find combinations like rainbow chard with crushed tomatoes and fermented chilies-carrots, capers, castelvetrano olives and Salvo cremasco. Or perhaps it will be roasted sunchokes with roasted mizpoona, raclette, watercress, and meyer lemon vinaigrette. In addition to pizza, there are also fresh and ever-changing sides like a curly kale salad with creamy garlic dressing, breadcrumbs, and reggiano, or a light and delicious cucumber gazpacho soup.

pumpkin soup, Daniel Hernandez Google Local

Although Minnick garners most attention for her pizza dough and toppings, her ice cream flavors are just as inventive and you never know exactly what you’ll find since they too are based on seasonally available ingredients and the whim of the chef. Examples include Buckwheat Honey with Hazelnut Toffee, Vanilla Bourbon, Fig Leaf, Quince Buttermilk, or Malted Milk Ball with hot fudge!

toffee ice cream
Toffee Ice Cream, Michelle V. Yelp

Lovely’s will please both your everyday pizza eater and the food snob in your group. The ingredients are unconventional and unpredictable, but also don’t sacrifice taste in the name of just being different. But you shouldn’t come here if you’re only looking for a traditional pepperoni pizza with red sauce—you’re gonna get something new here and you’re gonna like it!

ice cream cone
ice cream cone Natasha K. Yelp

The restaurant is small and will absolutely fill up, but in the summer they do have a few tables out on their patio to seat more customers. Be prepared to wait up to an hour, but honestly I can’t think of a better way to kill time than walking up and down Mississippi Ave and checking out the shops, and maybe even getting a German lager a block up the street at Prost while you wait.

Hours: Every day, 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Address: 4039 N. Mississippi Avenue, Ste. 101, Portland

Phone: 503-281-4060

Lovely’s Fifty Fifty stands as a shining example among the numerous local businesses fostering positive change in Oregon. If you’ve got a favorite spot or business in mind, don’t hesitate to nominate them—they might just be highlighted in an upcoming feature for That Oregon Life. Be sure to stay connected with That Oregon Life on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on the most remarkable destinations, attractions, and happenings in the Beaver State.