PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The new statewide restrictions taking effect this week will temporarily ban dining at restaurants in Oregon.
While it has resulted in many restaurants going out of business, some are adapting to the new realities, and starting new food concepts during the pandemic.
Aaron Dionne is an alumnus of some of Portland’s popular big-name restaurants downtown, but these days he is turning his attention to making pizza. Pacific Crust Pizza opened last month for delivery in Northeast Portland.
He’s building the new pizza business from the location of one of Josh Johnston’s other restaurants that’s closed for good.
“So we said well, hey, let’s just start with the kitchen and do a delivery-only model to work on the brand, we can’t have people indoors anyway, so let’s work on the brand, let’s work on the product, get it right, go delivery or pickup-only and if we’re successful we can expand from there,” Johnston said.
A brand rich in the outdoor-themed activities of the Northwest, the most popular pizza in the month they’ve been open is the mountain goat with boar bacon and elk sausage.
So far its been encouraging as sales are up in each of the several weeks they’ve been open. Johnston says he wants to expand to the suburbs – Happy Valley, Beaverton and Lake Oswego – after they’ve established the Pacific Crust Pizza brand.
“So we’re working right now to discover what that retail experience will look like and we’re looking at hopefully opening up some storefronts soon,” Johnston said.
For the time being dining in is out so the pizza makers at Pacific Crust Pizza hope a quick shift into high-quality delivered and take-out pizza will make up what the pandemic-related closures have taken away.