After visiting the Street of Dreams with my dad we went and grabbed lunch. Somewhere in my searches of gluten-free options in Portland I had found out about Via Chicago on Alberta in NE Portland. Spoiler alert: they have gluten-free Chicago-style deep dish pizza!!!
I was in Chicago about a month earlier for work and we had a team dinner at Giordano’s Famous Chicago Pizza. Luckily they had gluten-free pizza (so I didn’t have to eat a salad), but it was just a regular gluten-free crust with their toppings on top. Unfortunately not like the deep dish that everyone else was having. I wasn’t able to find a gluten-free version of the deep dish pizza at any other places in Chicago from Google searches, so I was really excited to try out Via Chicago.
Visiting Alberta was a little crazy for me, because there are tons and tons of buildings (really the entire feel of the street) that are brand new to me. Growing up Alberta was totally different and I hadn’t visited on other trips. Via Chicago is in one of those new buildings, along with Bunk Sandwiches and Salt & Straw. Since it was the summer they had both the front walls open to the outside, which was cool. Going off what I’ve seen in the movies and my imagination I would say it has the feel of a neighborhood Chicago pizza place. Being part Chicagoan through my mom I was excited to see the Chicago memorabilia (Chicago flag, street signs, etc.) around the restaurant.
You order at the counter and there are a number of deep-dish pizzas that you can order by the slice and have re-heated. They do one gluten-free slice of the day, which is really awesome! That day it was an artichoke, something, vegetable, something, vegetable pizza so you can imagine that was not my style. I ordered the gluten-free meat pizza, which came with hot sausage, pepperoni, and peppers. I ordered it without knowing the peppers were in there, but luckily they are Giardinara peppers, which are more my style (along with jalapenos) than red/green/yellow peppers. I need to apologize to my grandparents for that last statement since they created the “Green and Red Pepper Club” for all their grandchildren. I’m in fact a vice-president of the Green and Red Pepper Club, so I should probably keep my lack of preference for red and green peppers hidden…
Deep dish pizzas in general takes a while to cook and the guy said it’d probably be 25 to 30 minutes. This was a late lunch since we went to the Street of Dreams around 1 PM, so I was starving, but the wait was something I had expected. You might try ordering ahead if you’re going. It was definitely worth the wait. Just visually the deep dish pizza (and knowing it was gluten-free) was pretty awesome! On taste it kind of reminded me of lasagna on top of a pizza. It was very saucy and cheesy. The crust was really interesting. It was very golden and crispy. Gluten-free crusts tend to be more dryer and hard, but deep dish pizzas in general seem to be crispier to hold all the toppings so it didn’t seem like much of a difference between the gluten-free and the regular. The gluten-free crust was kind of sweet and this is going to sound weird, but there was kind of a hint of banana to it. I couldn’t place the aftertaste I was having, but I’m gonna go with banana. Probably not literally the case, but it’s what it reminded me of. Curious to hear what other’s think.
I had gone for the small size pizza (they can make any size gluten-free) and it came with four large slices. Not only were the slices of reasonable size, but they were also way more stuffed with toppings than a regular slice of pizza. I was kind of full after two pieces and had to take the rest to go. And I consider myself a pretty big eater/glutton.
My dad got a slice of the vegetable regular deep-dish, which he really liked. My mom loves artichokes so I got her a slice of the gluten-free pizza of the day for her to-go (I think it also had olives, which she also loves). Plus since she grew up in Chicago I thought she’d like the deep dish part. She thought it was great and was excited to know it was right there on Alberta.
In terms of prices I think the gluten-free slice was around $4 and my whole pizza was around $16. A little high for a small, but not when you consider that it’s a really filling, stuffed, pizza (despite being small in circumference). Given the overcharging I’ve seen of gluten-free items I’d say it’s a pretty good deal.
I think on my trips back Via Chicago will be a must-do. I enjoyed the deep dish style and the pizza overall was really delicious. I think anyone who is gluten-free and hasn’t had deep dish (or hasn’t since they went gluten-free) should make it a stop for sure! A lot of my friends were also really jealous of the pic in general, so I’m guessing gluten-eaters would like a deep dish pizza option in Portland. They also can make crusts vegan and they have vegan cheese! Look at the awesome pic of the gluten-free pizza (in my opinion) below and stop by Via Chicago on Alberta!
Via Chicago- 2013 NE Alberta Street Portland, OR