SoDo Pizza Raises the Bar

Great pizza...when you're drinking.

SoDo Pizza, which just celebrated its 12th birthday, does not make phenomenal pie. But pizza doesn't have to be phenomenal; it just needs to taste awesome when you're drinking. And more than any other pizzeria in town, SoDo Pizza is focused on making sure its crust is the one you bite into when you're hunkered down at a neighborhood watering hole.

The interior of SoDo Pizza's headquarters amounts to a couple chairs and a takeout window next to an old green refrigerator filled with cans of pop. The entire operation is housed in a narrow, windowless trailer, but there are a handful of picnic tables backed up against a neighboring brick building outside. A fence topped by razor wire separates the outdoor dining area from a pothole-laden parking lot, and the rest of the neighborhood comprises factories and lumber suppliers. In a sense, SoDo Pizza's location is as ingenious as it is unorthodox: It has little competition in an area rife with hungry laborers, discounting the one-in-a-million human who likes to consume splinters of wood for lunch.

Eaten sober, SoDo Pizza's pie isn't bad— better than Pizza Hut's, for sure, but not as good as Pagliacci's and the like. Yet while scarfing down a hot SoDo pie with a cold can of root beer on a sunny summer day is an ultra-pleasant way to while away one's lunch hour, the real test of SoDo's mettle is after a dozen Pabsts at Darrell's or Al's Taverns.

Aside from the industrial location that gives SoDo Pizza a virtual monopoly on the neighborhood, owner Neil Heiman has been shrewd enough to make his pies the exclusive offering of more than a dozen workaday bars around the city (as well as in Shoreline, where Darrell's is located). At nearby Two Beers or Hooverville, they're taken and baked, which diminishes the flavor a bit as compared to the source. But to evoke a tired analogy that's nonetheless pertinent enough to recycle yet again, drunken pizza is a lot like drunken sex: It's fantastic, even when it's not.

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