Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pizza Research Institute... taking pizza to new heights

I know I've mentioned this before, but in no way have I ever been a pizza person. I'm not a fan of cheese or heavy bread intake, especially simultaneously, but Pizza Research Institute changed my view on pizza forever.

Reinventing pizza with fresh, seasonal, and unique ingredients, all vegetarian and plenty of vegan options, PRI is one of those places you can't believe exists, especially in a small, relatively unknown culinary-wise town like Eugene!

Built in what looks like a large warehouse, PRI has a wonderfully inviting open layout including a completely visible kitchen and beautiful back patio dining area, which hosts live music friday nights. I've tried a few different pizza combinations but my favorite, and the one I order every time I go, is a slice of the vegan chef's special. With homemade vegan white sauce and spinach bed base on top of marinara sauce and wonderfully thin, crispy crust topped with approximately 15 different items chosen by the chef, every slice is different and not one bite of a given slice is the same as another. When in the mood for something lighter, I've opted for no vegan base and only marinara sauce and have equally enjoyed it.

This time my vegan chef's special came topped with grilled zucchini, sliced potatoes, fresh tomatoes, sweet potato fries, apricot, curried cauliflower, red onions, and many more tasty things I am unable to remember or see in this massive pile of deliciousness.

Another favorite of mine is their P3 salad, a meal in its own or a great appetizer. A large bed of greens with red onions, vegan pesto and garlic aioli, roasted potatoes, and sweet, juicy pear slices, I love this salad so much I've even tried recreating it at home. The sharpness of the onion contrasted with the juicy pears and rich sauces completed with warm, herbed potatoes makes this salad totally different than what you'd normally expect.

Pizza Research Institute is one of my favorite things about Eugene, and I only wish it was in walking distance so I could enjoy such uniquely delicious dinners more often.

Pizza Research Institute: 530 Blair Blvd. Eugene, OR 97402

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