2012 December: Deep Dish Pizza Comes to Portland Via Chicago

Fans of deep dish pizza soon will be able to satisfy their cravings when Via Chicago restaurant opens early February 2013 at 2013 N.E. Alberta St. In addition to a variety of pizzas, the new neighborhood spot will feature flatbread paninis, traditional Italian beef sandwiches, salads and pastries.

Via Chicago’s thick crust, deep dish pizzas will bring a slice of Chicago to Portland, according to Tonya Mayhew, co-owner and chef, who comes from an Italian family. Customers may eat in or order take-out food on the menu, as well as beer and wine from an on-site bottle shop. The restaurant will seat 40.

For the past three years, Mayhew and her husband Kevin Reynolds have built up a fan base for their pizzas, paninis and salads at the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University. These loyal customers helped them decide to open Via Chicago in a brand new Alberta District building.

“The farmer’s market provided a great way to do market research,” Reynolds said. A senior designer with Portland-based marketing firm Leopold Ketel, he knows customer feedback is the best research when launching a new product.

Both Mayhew and Reynolds have experience in the business as part of the original team that opened Green Dragon Bistro and Brewpub in Portland in 2008. It was quickly recognized as one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in the U.S. It was later purchased by Rogue Brewery. Mayhew created the menu and managed the Bistro while Reynolds created the branding and marketing pieces, still in use by Rogue Brewery.

More details will be made available closer to the opening date. Fans may follow progress of Via Chicago on Facebook as the restaurant is finished, the sign goes up and announcements are made about its anticipated opening date.

Note: Kevin Reynolds’ illustrated advertising for the Oregon Humane Society and Oregon Coast Aquarium has brought him and Leopold Ketel a measure of fame from thousands who see “End Petlessness” and “The Sea & Me” advertising and promotions around the city.