If you’re looking for proof that Seattle’s pizza scene is heating up, look no further than these 10 pop-ups. From complex crusts with locally sourced toppings to perfectly blistered pies with crowns of crisp cheese or spicy sauce, these are the ones to watch. Plus, if you’re not sure what kind of pizza you’re into, check out the pizza glossary at the bottom of the page, which defines some of the most popular styles of pie.
Go there if you like: The puffiness of a Neapolitan with a sturdier crust and thoughtful, seasonal toppings.
Price: Pizzas run $15-$22.
Anthony Dao grew up in Seattle but spent time traveling across the U.S. (and Australia) before moving back to the Pacific Northwest in 2017. Earlier this year, he bought a wood-fired oven on a trailer from a friend with a bakery in White Salmon. In May he started doing pizza parties in his backyard in Northeast Seattle in between shifts at Petite Soif, inviting friends over to pick up pizza topped with everything from porcini mushrooms and pea flowers to turnips and anchovies, often donating a portion of proceeds to El Centro de la Raza and the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network. Romeo began popping up every other weekend at Fremont’s Vif during the summer, and since early October, has appeared in residence at Homer on Beacon Hill with a few friends every Monday night, preselling about 45 pizzas each week. If things go well, that number might increase. “I’ve done what I personally feel like are some pretty weird pizzas, but I’m pretty unapologetic about it,” Dao says. He likes to keep an emphasis on his dough, sourced from Skagit Valley grains. The end result is a wonderfully chewy sourdough with all the leopard spotting of a wood-fired oven. There’s also a herbaceous green salad and dessert available weekly. Preorders go live Thursday for pickup the following Monday at Homer (3013 Beacon Ave. S.).
Go there if you like: A full-flavored hand-tossed pie with a perfect amount of sauce that’s big enough to feed two hungry adults.
Price: Pizzas run $20-$27.
I first heard about Dantini from a kind reader (yes, I read all my emails). Garrett Fitzgerald’s pepperoni and roasted garlic pie has never failed to elicit a satisfied sigh upon first bite. Fitzgerald and his girlfriend Karly Birch (who’s a nurse by day and is enrolled in a sustainable agriculture program through Viva Farms) have been popping up Sundays at Harry’s Fine Foods on Capitol Hill since June. They added Monday nights to the mix in late August, and Fitzgerald still holds down a few shifts at Windy City Pie. The 16-inch pizzas are baked on baking steels (a conductive pizza stone made of steel), creating a slightly crisp crust. There’s always a vegan option on the menu as well as a “secret” pizza — a recent one featuring burnt pork belly ends and crispy leeks on a base of roasted pepper cream was a collaboration with Bootleg Barbecue, another Seattle pop-up. There’s usually a seasonal salad and dessert as well. Preorders for 50 pies each day go live Thursdays for Sunday pickup, and Fridays for Monday pickup at Harry’s Fine Foods (601 Bellevue Ave. E.). There are also slices and the occasional whole pie available for walk-ups each day, with the option to add on wine from Harry’s.
Guerrilla Pizza Kitchen
Go there if you like: To really geek out on amazing crust with classic flavor toppings.
Price: Pizzas run $12-$13.
If you talk about pizza pop-ups in Seattle, Cam Hanin’s name is the first to come up. Hanin is the former executive chef for Mark Fuller’s restaurants: Ma’ono, New Luck Toy and Supreme. Although he had worked in bread and pastry, he hadn’t done pizza before Supreme opened in West Seattle in 2017. “There was something that really resonated with me, something really egalitarian about getting a slice and charging $2.50 for it,” he says. Hanin started popping up as Guerrilla Pizza Kitchen in June 2019, but took almost six months off beginning in March. During that time, he started operating as a part of the community kitchen at Musang, giving away up to 140 pizzas every week. GPK is back now, casually doing pop-ups in between Hanin working and home-schooling his kids. His dough is naturally fermented at ambient temperature, hand-mixed, never refrigerated and created from grains grown and milled on Lopez Island. Toppings skew vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) and Hanin rarely uses fresh mozzarella. There’s also soup and salad usually, with nothing on the menu over $14. Keep an eye on Instagram for the next event’s date and location. Preorders of between 70 and 100 pizzas will go live a few days before the event.
Go there if you like: Perfect little puffy pizzas with a little more oomph than a classic Neapolitan.
Price: Pizzas cost around $17 each.
Emma Burke and Elizabeth Phung moved to Seattle two years ago from Beijing, where they owned and operated a tiny bakery called The Bake Shop. There, they sold American-style cookies, bagels and scones, plus bread and laminated dough pastries. Burke is the baker, Phung is a graphic designer (but also quite savvy in the kitchen). Burke began turning some of the extra sourdough bread into pizza. “We ran approximately a million tests, and then we moved to Seattle and ran another million tests because everything is slightly different,” she said. Burke also works at Willmott’s Ghost, and the duo hosted their first pop-up as Tiny Industries in late August at Burien Press, ultimately raising $1,000 for the COVID-19 Mutual Aid fund. They have plans to keep popping up at Burien Press and possibly other pop-up-friendly shops in the South End (the couple live in White Center). Pies are naturally leavened and Neapolitan-esque, meaning they’ve got that wonderful blistery crust but with a slightly more crisp bottom, so, not as “droopy.” “We have this approach in that we’re seasonal, we’re farmer-oriented, and trying to get the best produce to create really beautiful, simple, seasonal food,” Burke says. They have about 50 pizzas available for preorder a few days before each event, priced around $17 each. Oh, and there’s cake! Look to Instagram for the next event.
Go there if you like: Square pan-style pizzas with wonderful crispy cheese layer edges.
Price: Pizzas run $20-$25.
Tucked down many winding, tree-lined paths on Bainbridge Island is James Lorimer’s house, and his madcap lab for testing his pizza dough. After working in pizza in shops around Seattle for the past six years, Lorimer started popping up as Kilroy’s for a few months in late 2019 before he moved back to Bainbridge earlier this year. His pies are mostly square, with an airy, craggy crust, and they’re baked in a pan that facilitates a crispy, lacy ring of nearly burnt cheese around the edges. Lorimer is adamant about topping his pies with locally grown, seasonal ingredients and is even working with a friend to craft a specialty Kilroy’s pepperoni. Even so, he maintains a chill vibe. “I worked in all these fancy restaurants where I got yelled at. Then I went to pizza; the meanest guy there was the nicest guy at my last job. It’s pizza. What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Lorimer is on the hunt for a regular pop-up space but can be contacted for private pizza parties. Look to Instagram for details.
Go there if you like: Sourdough crust with Neapolitan-style blistering and a killer pesto.
Price: Pizzas run $14-$19.
“If you’re a crazy food person, [pizza] is a really interesting form of expressing your love,” says Kala Wolfe of Dough Baby. Wolfe is a former biologist who also used to work for coffee farms and owned a coffee shop and restaurant in El Salvador. She now works as the director of product at Onda Origins cafe in Hillman City, but has been thinking of pizza since she was a kid, “eating really lowbrow Italian American food in rural Pennsylvania.” She started making sourdough to play with leavening, sometimes making up to 40 loaves a week. Once the dough was how she wanted it, Wolfe started turning out puffy little pizzas, topped with everything from butternut squash and honeycomb or fermented plums to spicy salami. She still makes (and sells) sourdough loaves through preorder at Onda, and has plans to pop up as Dough Baby at least monthly. Wolfe often donates a portion of proceeds to various local charities. Look to Instagram for the next event.
Go there if you like: A chewy, complex crust with dreamy vegetarian topping combinations.
Price: Pizzas are $22.
The Instagram account for Moon pizza is more hand-drawn illustration than pizza beauty shots, all drawn by Marie Rutherford, one half (along with Sea Wolf Bakers’ Kit Schumann) of the dreamy weekly pop-up. The duo offers two vegetarian pizzas on a monthly basis, spending all month testing the next month’s pies. “When you’re younger you want change every day; there’s something very smart and loving and responsible about doing something over and over again until you get it right,” says Rutherford, who also teaches at The Pantry. Their sourdough dough is a mix of Cairnspring Mills and Shepherd’s Grain with rye, bread flour and high-gluten flours. It’s chewy and a little malty, inspired slightly by the pizzas from the Cheese Board Pizza in Berkeley, California, where Rutherford grew up. They make 90 pizzas each Monday, preorders open the Thursday before and each month they raise money for a different charity. Plus, you can get slices of cake from Georgetown’s Deep Sea Sugar & Salt and loaves from Sea Wolf. Pizzas are limited to two per person, and pickup is at Sea Wolf in Fremont (3621 Stone Way N., Suite D).
Go there if you like: A personal-sized Neapolitan-style pie with a crispier crust.
Price: Pizzas run $9-$14.
Chris Lien’s first job was at his neighborhood pizza joint, Tony Maroni’s Gourmet Italian Pizza, when he was just a teenager. “I learned probably nothing about making pizza other than stretching the dough,” he says with a laugh. Years later, he was living in New York City and got a job at famed Roberta’s after answering a Craigslist ad. After two years at Roberta’s he began baking bread, eventually moving to Bocce in Union Square. Lien and his girlfriend moved back to Seattle in January and started doing some private events making pizza for friends with the intention of opening up his own pizzeria. Lien creates his sourdough starter-based dough with Cairnspring Mills flour and tops it with Bianco tomatoes and Ferndale Farmstead cheese. “I really press out the crust, the dough balls are probably smaller, it comes out thinner and crispier,” he says. He’s also messing around with frozen pizza, saying that he’s still hoping to find a good location and move in somewhere permanently. In the meantime, he’s hosting pop-ups around the city in between shifts at Sunny Hill. Lien sells 50 pizzas through preorder and reserves around 20 for walk-ups, which take place every two weeks. Keep an eye on Instagram for the next event.
Chachi’s Pizza Co.
Go there if you like: A flavor-bomb complete with spicy sauce and fresh herbs.
Price: Pizzas run $20-$25.
The name Chachi comes from a childhood nickname for Charlie Midencey, the man behind Chachi’s Pizza Co. Midencey moved to Seattle three years ago after working in Los Angeles for famed chef Ludo Lefebvre. Since living in Seattle, he’s bounced around, working everywhere from Lincoln South Food Hall to Bottlehouse, all while perfecting Chachi’s Pizza Co. (and burgers and pasta). At first, the pizza he was making was “like if [deep pan] Detroit-style had sex with a focaccia pie.” While he says he’ll still throw out a few of those at events, his focus now is a pizza that combines “the leoparding of a Neapolitan but the body of a tavern-style.” His sauce is more like a vibrant, slightly spicy salsa, and it’s spackled on in dollops atop the cheese, allowing for a fluffier crust. His pies are square cut, and the pepperoni, red onion and confit garlic are showered with a mix of fresh parsley, dill and oregano just after it comes out of Midencey’s Ooni oven. He doesn’t have a regular schedule yet; follow him on Instagram to find out about the next event.
Go there if you like: The puffy end crust of a Neapolitan with the body of a New York-style pie, plus mostly vegetarian toppings.
Price: Pizzas are $12-$20.
Blotto’s Jordan Koplowitz says “pizza is so fun, it’s a community food.” Koplowitz came to pizza after picking up “Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza” by Portland’s Ken Forkish at a used-book store when he was 20. It took him years before he started getting serious about his dough, and before starting Blotto, he founded a since-closed co-working space in the University District and the kitchen accessories brand Caldo. Now, he pops up weekly at his own space on Broadway on Capitol Hill in the same building as Tacos Chukis, a countertop he shares with a Greek wholesale baker and two deck ovens that have “probably been around longer” than he has. Blotto pizza is a sourdough cross between a New York and a Neapolitan pie with seasonal toppings and plenty of vegetarian offerings. His cheese-free marinara pie with just tomato sauce, shaved garlic and oregano is one of the best pizzas I’ve eaten. The menu of four pies goes live for preorder on Mondays for Thursday pickup on Capitol Hill (219 Broadway East), with 30 pizzas up for grabs each week. Toppings change biweekly. Watch Instagram for announcements or subscribe to the Blotto newsletter.
Pizza is never just pizza. It could be New York-style or Neapolitan; tavern-style or even Sicilian. The cheeses used, the way it’s sliced and even the order in which toppings, cheese and sauce are layered can all denote style. And pizza styles are far from set; in 2006, Domino’s coined Brooklyn-style pizza, denoting it as a thinner crust complete with cornmeal for extra crunch. So what does it all mean? Here’s a quick glossary of terms:
Generally thought of as deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza is baked in a steel pan or iron skillet, creating a deep, thick crust. Cheese goes directly on the dough, followed by toppings with a sauce of uncooked tomatoes on top. There’s also a stuffed deep-dish which has another layer of crust underneath the sauce.
Sometimes called an offshoot of Sicilian, Detroit style is baked in a rectangular steel pan and has a deep yet airy crust. Instead of mozzarella, Detroit-style pizza uses Wisconsin brick cheese.
A thin, delicately soft body with a puffy ring. Leopard spots from a wood-fired oven and sparse toppings.
A hand-tossed pie with a thin yet crisp crust. Slices large enough to fold in half. Cheese is usually mozzarella, layered above the sauce but below any toppings.
A thick-crusted square-cut pizza, sometimes compared to focaccia. Many varieties don’t have cheese.
Very similar to tavern-style, but with an even thinner and crispier cracker crust. Also a sweeter tomato sauce and the cheese is Provel, a mix of provolone, cheddar and Swiss cheeses.
Also called Midwestern, Parlor or Bar-style pizza, this is a thin, cracker-crusted pizza cut into squares. Toppings can be over or under cheese depending on location, and cheese is usually mozzarella.
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