Apizza

4/14/08
Here's some recent photos taken on a venture out to Apizza. It's worth the drive. You can tell that they use the finest ingredients by just looking at the pepperoni. Awesome atmosphere, clean and nice classical music playing for stress reduction.

281 N 3rd Ave (corner of Ida and 3rd), Stayton

503-761-4141

Winter hours: Thurs-Sat, 4-9pm.

non-winter hours Tues-Sun, usually open for lunch and dinner (don't recall the hours)


This is the best pizza ever. Really. I have yet to ever find pizza that is anywhere near this good. That stuff you order from Domino's? That's not even pizza, with a spongy crust and over-processed toppings. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, seeing that the readers of this blog just voted it restaurant of the year. If you'd like to find out for yourself, check out Apizza this Saturday evening for the Eat Salem Apizza night. Mention the blog and you'll get 50% off your pizza if you dine in. Now that's generous!


Apizza (pronounced ah-BEETS) is modeled after the New Haven, Connecticut style pizza made famous and delicious by Pepe's Pizza. When I brought my New Englander step-dad to Apizza, he waxed nostalgic about the pizza in New Haven, then after eating his way through a combo pie, declared Apizza to be even better.

The pizza at Apizza has a thin, slightly charred, chewy crust. (The pizza in the pic is the most charred crust of any I've ever gotten there. It was a bit too charred, but not by much, and I still ate every bit of it). It's delicious. There's only one size pizza, a squarish 12-inch pie, and the toppings are somewhat limited, but that's intentional. The owners are very aware that too many toppings make a crust fall apart and get soggy. So the combo pies are carefully thought out according to weight and moisture to ensure that the pies are cooked through and the crust remains brown and crispy. I'm a fan of the meat pie, with sausage, salami, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. I've heard fabulous things about the smashed potato pie, and it's next on my list to try.


In addition to the amazing pizzas, they have a really nice ceasar salad with homemade dressing. I know, you don't want to bother with salad with pizza this good, but it's worth it. They've also got a great selection of Boylan's sodas made with cane syrup, good local beers and a nice wine selection. The atmosphere inside is nicer than you'd expect for a pizza joint. Wood floors, nice lighting and high booth walls give it a slightly antique and cozy feel. You really wouldn't expect to find a place like this in Stayton, I sure was surprised. But now I look for reasons to head out there. And usually I order more pizza than I think we'll need. Chances are, you'll finish it, and if not, there are always leftovers!

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I finally tried apizza. It is good, but rather expensive.

I do like the style. There aren't many places around that do it like they do. We got two pizzas and one was a little burnt, but they were both good. Maybe it is supposed to be charred, and my wife didn't mind, but I had that taste in my mouth for a while.

Compares favorably to Ken's Aritisian or Apizza Shools in Portland.

I would say this is a good special occassion spot. However, for date night pizza in Salem, I still prefer Christo's.

Bottomline, good but expensive.

jeff said...

Based on the photo, that one appears somewhat more charred around the edges than the ones I normally get there.

I don't know why though.

robert said...

Nice review. The pizza in the photo looks like mine when I ask for extra char. (I prefer the sausage pizza to the all meat one.) I highly recommend that you ask for extra char.

Regarding the 1st comment above from "anonymous", I don't get the hangup you have regarding the price. Scholls is far more expensive than Apizza, Ken's is more expensive too, and Christo's is close, but for what you get, it's more expensive than Apizza also.

And by the way, for everyone, char and burn are not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Good Pizza
OVER FREAKING PRICED

Anonymous said...

We had their white pie with steak. It was by far the best pizza I've ever had. Just loaded with steak. When we were about to leave, a neighboring party told me to not bother with the tip as they don't take tips! We were in a really nice restaurant. Two of us ate dinner with drinks for $18.25. THIS PLACE IS A BARGAIN!!! (Tip - don't load your pizza with toppings.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert, I am was the one that posted the very first comment up top - I thought it was good but expensive. We spent double what we spend at Christo's. It is not a hangup, just an observation. I think Christo's is a very comparable venue and pie.

As to Scholls and Ken's, I honestly don't recall how much we have spent there.

robert said...

Hello anonymous,

I agree they’re a comparable venue, but Apizza has to be a serious contender for a national ranking, and Christo’s is not. Tell you what you do – invite a friend who has a problem with acid. You’ll know they do, if they object to red sauce on pizza. Take them to Christo’s and make them eat a slice of pizza that has red sauce (this is in the interest of culinary science (art?), so they’ll have to be a good sport, ‘cause they’ll get a gut ache). Then take them to Apizza and promise them that they won’t get sick even if they eat a whole cheese pizza (with red sauce – hell, make it extra sauce). I guarantee you they will not feel it. Apizza, I don’t know exactly how they do it, has a sauce that must be nearly free of citric acid. Now about the crust. A good pizza starts with a good crust – duh. But this is apparently a lot easier to say than to do, because mostly the pizza crusts around here really suck. I’ve read enough elsewhere (e.g. salemfood blog, et al) to know that Apizza is REALLY serious about their crust. From what I read, they typically don’t use dough that is less than 72 hours old. What you get from that is a delicious crust. In short, a good pizza is not an accident – it’s a result of knowing what you’re doing, caring enough to do it, and not taking any shortcuts.

Back to pricing for a second if you don’t mind. You can’t possibly have had a comparable meal and paid double at Apizza. Anyone who doesn’t believe me, just compare the menu prices. I think Apizza is a little cheaper, especially when you factor in the no-tipping policy. They are ahead of the crowd – I’m thinking that Salem Man’s wish that more restaurants had an “order at the counter then leave me alone” model is going to catch on. I’m personally annoyed when a server shows up every 2 minutes to fill up my water glass and ask if everything is okay. (I think some of them just imagine their tip growing with each visit to the table.) Well, that’s just my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong. Again, Christo’s is good pizza, my favorite in Salem, and worth the price.

Regards,
Robert

Anonymous said...

I've never been to Christos', don't even know where it is. But I did live in New Haven for 10 years, and about the only thing I really miss since leaving there is real pizza.

Then I read about Apizza in the Statesman Journal. When I told my husband there was a new pizza place and they were from CT he said, "We're going there tonite".

We have been there at least twice a month, every month since then. They have memorized our order. The pie in the pic is way more charred than any one I have ever gotten, so if you don't like the looks of it, don't worry. That's not typical.

As far as price? This is a nice restaurant, good atmosphere, spotlessly clean. It's not pizza hut (which by the way, is not pizza)!

We in Salem have to be willing to support little gems like this if we want them around. This has become the land of big box chain restaurants, and that's all we're ever going to have if that's all we patronize.

Try Apizza. It's more than worth the trip to Stayton. It's a heckuvalot cheaper than flying to New Haven.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you call Apizza before trekking to Stayton. The night we went (coming from Portland), they ran out of "dough balls".

Who do they think they are? Apizza Scholls?


I suspect Apizza attracts plenty of customers from Salem and a few from Portland. It's bad business to run out of dough 2.5 hours before closing when a good chunk of their patrons are coming from about 20 miles away or further.

We (a party of six) wound up going to Straight From New York in Salem (there's nothing in Stayton), and it was damn good.

Anonymous said...

good, but not even the best pizza in Stayton. Although nicley remodeled, atmosphere is cold, dead and impersonal.

Anonymous said...

As a 34-year New Haven area resident, I can tell you that this is the real deal. There's no pizza west of Chicago that I've had that quite meets the Apizza standard. Let's keep them going!

Bobo said...

You might say I am a pizza affecianado.
I have been eating and making pizza since the '50s. I grew up in a small eastern
town and we had a little Italian guy that opened a pizza place in one
side of his house just down the street from me.... this was in the
the late 1950's - way before pizza was any kind of national phenonenom.

He made his own sauce (excellent), and also made his own dough (again excellent).
Part of the production
was watching them knead the dough and spread it out into a large
rectangular pan and then he'd paint a small amount of sauce on it and put it in his
red hot brick lined oven for a few minutes. Then he'd
bring it back out, puncture any raised areas with a fork then and put just a touch more sauce and the cheeses on it then back in the oven for another 5 or so minutes to
finish. After it was cooked he'd bring it back out and cut it into about 4" square
pieces and put one piece of pepperoni on per slice, I remember it originally costing 10 cents a slice. There was only one style, pepperoni, or you could get it without the pepperoni.

This pizza had a thin to medium crust and did have some charred areas at times but it
also had a nice thick bread-like edge to it that was highly prized especially if you happened to get one of the outside corner pieces.

This pizza is what I judge all other pizzas by. Excellent and authentic in every way. The shop is still is business today, nearly 50 years later and is a legend in the area. It's authentic as the original owner just spoke broken English and brought the recipe with him from Italy.

I am always looking for something that will approximate this.... or come close in their own unique way. I moved to Oregon in the early 70's and all that we had here at the time was Shakey's and Pietro's... Held my nose and ate it but had a longing for something more authentic. Pretty much gave up on this and started making my own about 20 years ago. Then Christos came 5 or 6 years ago and I was so happy to have something authentic in the area.

So I was very excited to read about this Apizza place in Stayton.. I like Christos alot and would give him an 8 to a 9 on most days, and sometimes a 10. Not really excited about any other pizza place in Salem. There is a new brand of frozen pizza that Costco has that is thin crusted, Palmero's that is very good for frozen....but it is still frozen..... I make my own many times a year on my own stone, the key at home is to get your oven as hot as it can be and leave the stone in for an hour or so before you start cooking the pizza. Make your own dough and sauce too, its pretty
simple and beats anything ready made hands down. But a hot stone is the key...

Back to Apizza....

Overrated!

All I can say is Wow! I thought you really had something here....
I have seen your blog in the past and have followed some of your
suggestions and been pleased, for the most part...

This one really disappointed. Best Restaurant of the Year?
Are you kidding? It was just "OK" and that is being generous.
Soggy, very expensive pizza. Could not pick the piece of pizza up and eat it without it collapsing. Ultra thin crust, which is OK, but no edge to it, which is bad.
I brought 1/4 of it home and it weighed a whopping 5 oz! That's what I call a little Aprofit.
This was a "mushroom" pizza.
Very expensive! Not a whole lotta taste. I think our bill with two pops was $19. For a huge
pizza that would not be gross, but for this one that price is way, way too much.
This does not hold a candle to Christo's, I'm sorry.... Christo's has a crust, and some
sauce and atmostphere.....
Christo's is the best in this immediate area. I have not tasted the Apizza Scholls, it looks very
good in the pictures, but also looks grossly expensive. $20 for a plain! Outrageous is all I can
say.

Mutt said...

Hey Bobo, Apizza makes great pizza. Apizza Scholls in Portland also makes great pizza. Scholls is even more expensive, so you'll hate Scholls as much as I would hate getting once slice of pepperoni.

Anonymous said...

First of all, we really like Apizza in Stayton. Big fans. I thought they were reasonably priced even when they upped their prices. Now that I think about it, I guess they are a little pricey considering the heavy but good pizza at Christo's and the very good Straight From New York. I think pound for pound, they're pricier than Apizza Scholls.

Has anyone tried Ken's Artisan Pizza?

Anonymous said...

I have heard nothing but good things about Ken's. I am going to be in the area this week so I will have to try it and compare to Apizza. I have been eating way too much Staigth from New York pizza lately though. It is addictive and since I just like the straight cheese slice and drink water, lunch is ridiculously cheap : $2.50.

We are lucky to have so many good options in the area. NY Pizza, Apizza, & Christos.

jeff said...

Apizza is now open 11:30am to 9:30pm, Daily.

Anonymous said...

Finally checked this place out tonight after months of talking about it and I was not disapointed. For those for who think it's too expensive-- well, yes this is not a huge heaping pile of food, but you can tell that this
pizza is made of very high quality ingredients and prepared perfectly. If you're to judge the quality of food by the pound, you can go buy 50 pounds of potatoes at the grocery store for $10 and see where that gets you.

tim said...

After hearing both bad and good about APIZZA, I finaly tried it. An amazing work of art!!!! Charred and burnt yet soggy and limp, a crust no one would want. Very little pizza for a very high price. I won't be back. The nice building should have a good restuarant in it. It seemed like it was just another video lottery outlet. They can't be making money selling pizza.

Anonymous said...

If a person doesn't like Apizza, then they don't like New Haven style pizza. Fine. To each his own. What you grew up eating here in Oregon is not pizza. It may be good, cheesy and filling, but it's not pizza.

And if you think it's too expensive, then I'd be interested to know where you like to eat out, because this place is still one of the best meals for the money we've found.

Cold and impersonal atmosphere? Ooh, no paper plates. It's a lovely building with nice artwork on the walls and usually good classical music playing. Perhaps a cozy pizza hut would be more comfortable.

For those of us who do appreciate this style of pizza, they now have a smaller sized pizza available (I have never been able to finish mine) and I understand they have lasagne although I haven't tried it, and sub sandwiches for lunches.

jennifer said...

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR ? I thought they did away with voter fraud after the 2000 presidential election. How a pizza joint that only serves bad pies can be restaurant of the year is beyond me. Overpriced, burnt, cardboard tasting, I was the only fool in the place on a friday at 5:30pm. On the positive side, I won $120 playing video poker. It barely made up for the bad pizza.

Guido said...

How could anyone compare this place to CHRISTO'S ??? I've had better frozen pizza from Safeway for 1/3 the price, plus I didn't have to drive 15 miles to get it. New Haven style, just what is that? Quite obviously there are no Italians living there. It tasted like bland Brittish food, burnt by the Pilgrims over an open fire. I'm sure they didn't share it with the indians at the first Thanksgiving. If you want great pizza go to Christo's and save yourself the drive.

jesus said...

yuk!!!!!!!!

Shannon said...

good food, good pizza, good people, nice building, excellent!!!!

Brandon said...

Hey, what's going on here. Isn't Shannon one of the owners????

Anonymous said...

Wow, the opinions are all over the board. I kinda wish anonymous posts were not allowed, but..

Now I have to try this place.

Salem Man said...

This place is top notch, excellent a real treasure.

jeff said...

I was told the comments were trending south on the Apizza review so I decided to drop by here and read them myself (yes, I had a small meat pie for dinner tonight). And I've been enjoying the toasted Italian subs for lunch probably more often than I ought to. :)

Hmmmm. All of the sudden a bunch of "non-Blogger login" negative comments. I smell sock puppets.

And yeah, one of the owners name is Shannon.... and so are about 20 other people I've known in my life. It's not an uncommon name.

Howie said...

My wife made a call last Sunday to find out APIZZA'S hours. She was told til 9:30 p.m. every night. Two days later on Tuesday 8/12, we loaded up the kids and drove to Stayton from Silverton. Upon arrival at 6:30 p.m. we were greeted by a small sign on the door saying they had decided to close at 2:30 that day. A terrible way to do business. While I don't know if they have good pizza or not, their unreliable hours left us less than satisfied. We ended up having a nice meal less than a block away at Ugo's pizza.

Muhammad said...

Finally I have some common ground with Jesus. Praise Allah and Straight from N.Y. Pizza

budha said...

While it is good to see Muhammad and Jesus have common ground, it is a shame they know nothing about pizza. Apizza by far has the best pies this side of the Vatican. Served in a clean and hospitable enviroment.

Anonymous said...

AMAZING pizza...yummy goodness...by far the best I've ever had...

Ricky-Bobby said...

What a shame! They have taken the nicest part of the dining room, the windowed area looking out on the street, and turned it into a Oregon Lottery video parlor. It's a shame they could not sell enough pizzas to not turn the place into a gambling establishment.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a shame. It is because people do not patronize them for their excellent pizza. They'd rather park their butts on a stool and poke money in a machine and get a hot dog and a slurpy at midnight. When that's the kind of public you get to deal with around here, we'll never be able to keep decent restaurants in business.

Anonymous said...

We tried this place for the first time Sunday. I thought it was worthy of talking about somewhere so I went surfing (ya) and found this blog. It seems like a pretty nice little site, anyway, here goes.

We arrived as part of a group of around 50 I’d guess. What a nice little surprise out here in the middle of nowhere in a town of what, 3000? I’ve read all the previous bloggers on Apizza, and I have to say, something stinks. Either some of you just want a gut bomb, or you’re mad at them about something, but if you don’t like this food, you just have no taste, that’s all. For those who haven’t tried it, trust this blog’s moderator. He’d be unbiased and seems to think it’s good. And Howie, you probably are for real, but do yourself a favor and try them again. Go when they are most likely to be open, say Friday night. It would now be interesting to see what you think since you ate nearby at a place you liked.

I can say this. We swamped them, 50 against 4 employees. But these people are about as professional as I’ve seen anywhere. They handled our crowd like it was nothing. I think it probably helped that we arrived in three mini-groups, not all at once (god I’m funny, if you only knew what a pun that was). But really, the service was fast, friendly, and efficient. I think they are 2 married couples, older and younger, probably family, but I didn’t ask.

Nearly everyone (there’s an idiot or 2 in every group) thought it was about the best pizza they’ve had. The lasagna got similar raves. And the place is beautiful.

Some of you posters seem to have some sort of issue with the lottery. Why? It’s hidden, the wooden door to it is attractive, it’s quiet, and besides I PLAY LOTTERY! So leave us folks alone please. (Oh ya, it’s also the nicest damn lottery room I’ve ever seen. Cherry floors I’m guessing? Really kinda over the toppish.)

FIVE BIG STARS FOR APIZZA *****

Anonymous said...

people think pizza hut is gourmet so they needed the lottery to survive in that little town the pizza is very good

Anonymous said...

The pizza is amazing! They also have good beer and a very tasty cake. Highly recommended. :)

Anonymous said...

no more coupon

Salem Man said...

sorry about the coupon going away, that was a really good deal and several people were using them. They just decided not to do it anymore.

Anonymous said...

no more coupons kinda sad

Anonymous said...

4 dollars off made it worth driving from keizer now i guess ill go 2 christos or straight from ny

Anonymous said...

We went there on mother's day, because I knew most of the typical restaurants would be swamped and we were on a schedule. Still awesome. I recently tried their white pie with artichokes and it was delicious as well.

For the folks who think the reviews have gone south, I don't know who those reviewers are, but the pizza has not gone south!

I just wish they'd move closer to my house. :)