7.12.05

The Pizza Research Institute


Eugene has a unique pizza establishment, called the Pizza Research Institute. I've heard murmerings around town about how good it is, that it is considered "Northwestern artisian pizza," that it actually enjoys it's own cult following of Eugenians, and now after having been there, I believe it. They won second place for best pizza this year. It's a small place, with sort of a warehouse, blackmarket feel to it. There are only a few tables inside, and they take advantage of an open-air atmosphere with tables outside whenever the weather permits it. The guy behind the counter had tattoos up and down both arms as well as his neck, though this is not that unusual in Eugene and I feel it adds to the flair of the population that makes up my town. The service was prompt and friendly as we chose our pizza by the pie (or the slice, if you'd like) from the unique offerings written on a small chalkboard next to the counter... obviously the reason for the name of the place has to do with the various combinations of toppings they provide. One in particular sounded appealing, and unlike anything I had ever tried before: gouda, apple and walnut pizza. The dough is made fresh daily, and most everything is organic. They also offered soups, salads, vegan options and home-brewed rootbeer and hemp cola (I'm going to have to try these next time).

After ordering, we situated ourselves at a table and perused the sauces for adding pizzazz to pizza. This was not just your normal grated parmesan and red chili peppers - they offered everything from olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, salad dressings, hot peppers, hot sauce, salt and pepper, spice mixes and more. Loving Boyfriend grabbed an assortment (my favorite was the balsalmic), and we waited patiently for our pizza. PRI is open only Tuesday through Saturday every week from 5:30pm until 9:30-ish. Several other patrons crowded in the tiny restaurant and it was clear many of them had been here before and knew their favorite combinations, or had come just to try the new ones.

After a short wait, our pizza arrived. It smelled marvelous. The crust was crispy and tasty with a subtle hint of herbs in it, and the combination was perfect. The thin slices of fuji apple were still slightly crisp, the toasted walnuts added a nutty but soft crunch. You could still see the slices of smoked gouda laid on top of the mixture, along with a bit of mozzarella, and under that, a thin layer of pesto and some kind of spices sprinkled lightly on top. It was delicious. I would definitely go back...but now I want to go back to take notes on their other combinations, because I'm going to have to try this one at home next time!

Pizza Research Institute
1328 Lawrence Street
Eugene, OR 97403
541.343.1307

11 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

Man, that really looks like a pizza that I could sink my teeth into. The guys with the tatoos, well...what can I say, I have two myself. I do love the tat guys but up the neck is a little much for even me.

michelle said...

He He, I want to know what your tattoos are! And where! I wouldn't have guessed it off hand, but now considering your fiesty personality... :) I love it! I have one myself, though I have often entertained the thought of getting a second one. I've even tried to convince LB to get one, but he just laughs at me and says, "uh, no."

In fact, I think my brother and my stepfather are the only two in my family that don't have them apparently my brother's new girl has them all up and down her arms as well - I can't wait to meet her! Funny I don't know more men with them. But the neck wouldn't happen for me, mine is on my back and it hurt enough to make me be choosy about where a second one might debut!

vlb5757 said...

I will never tell where they are. I have them hidden from public view. I didn't get my first one until I was in my mid 30s. I am a late bloomer! I want a third one but when I mention it, hubby just rolls his eyes. I will have to go alone and just do it.

Did I send you the link about me being in the newspaper today? It's an article about food blogging. I will E mail you the link. I gave Prue a list of 12 sites that I really like and she only listed two. One was a local blogger here and Ilva's. She didn't mention you or Dawn at all. I was disappointed. I did give her your site and Dawn's too. Oh well!

Now, when are we going for pizza with the tatooed man?

Nerissa said...

The pizza looks amazing and the place sounds incredible and all those other superlatives.

Tattoos... LOL I think I will be like you, V, and be in my mid thirties when I get my first. I want want so much but have no place to get one up where I live.

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Hmmm---It sounds delicious! I have never had a pizza like that. I'll have to make my own I guess! Today is mother's day in Panama, and I have been waiting for the rain to stop so I can visit my mom, my sister and grandmother---let's see what happens. They will -kill me- if I do not go :(

Dawn said...

That sounds so good!!! I am so hungry, thank goodness we're having a pot luck today at work!

If you figure out how to make that at home, you'll have to post some recipes!

michelle said...

Aw, come on, Vickie! Spill the beans! Maybe when I come and visit or you come out here, we'll go get tattoos together and hubby and LB will just be surprised! Then we'll go get pizza at PRI and show them off! Do email me the link - that's so exciting, you're famous!

Diningdica, you'll just have to come and visit at the same time as Vickie and we'll all go together!

Melissa,
Tell those lovely women in your family Happy Mother's Day! I hope that the rain stops and you're able to go out and see them!

Dawn,
Potluck? Now I'm hungry! I will have to try it someday, and I'll post the recipe - one of my favorite pizza recipes has tomatoes, blue cheese, pine nuts, mozzerella and red onion - yum! We've even had pizza parties where we provided homemade crust and let everyone make their own half of a pizza - it's amazing what people can come up with!

ilva said...

Michelle-I just tagged you for a meme!

michelle said...

Thanks, Ilva! I'll get on it!

Anonymous said...

Michelle---I just accidentally ended up at you blog and read that you and your lovely man are married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so happy for you guys. . . .
oh yes, and congrats on the phd!!

I lost your # when my phone dies a tragic death. . . . please e-mail me!

nyki3378@hotmail.com

--love nyki

Anonymous said...

Went to Pizza Research Institute last night; was in town for the Pre Classic, and had read a review in Sunset magazine. Couldn't find it at 1328 Lawrence; stopped someone on the street who directed us to their new location on Blair Blvd. Got there--kind of a seedy neighborhood, and the new place used to (obviously) be a auto repair garage! None of the furniture matches . . . but the pizza was to die for! We had a 1/2 chevre, marinated eggplant, and caramelized onion pizza, with a 1/2 chef's choice. The BEST pizza I've ever had! The crust has beer, herbs, and whatever else they find to throw into it, the waitress said. We also had a bottle of chardonnay and a hot spinach salad (1/2 serving), which had a great hot mustard/garlic dressing. Wow! I want to go back (but it's 250 miles away!)!