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Drive Thru: Portia’s Pizza

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Drive Thru: Portia’s PizzaPhotos by Miriam Bowers Abbott
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Whole World Natural Restaurant’s pizza was a Clintonville institution. Founded in 1978, it was vegetarian before vegetarian was cool. After a long run, it closed its doors in 2017. 

While endings are always a little sad, good news was just around the corner. Portia’s Cafe announced intentions to expand a diner operation in the vacated space. Like Whole World, Portia’s is known for its meat-free fare. In fact, it runs a vegan kitchen, so its recipes use no eggs or dairy as well. And Portia’s Diner made its debut right at the end of 2019. 

Normally, a debut like this might call for a full-scale review, but in the age of COVID-19, carryout is king. And the diner is now offering the most classic carry-out food of all: Pizza. 

We’re right back where we started. 

Portia’s pizza (let’s take a moment to appreciate the alliteration) can be ordered with a variety of toppings. You can go classic with just (non-dairy) cheese, or build a bigger masterpiece with meat substitutes and veggies. And because Portia’s has long-been crafting its own meat substitutes in-house, those deluxe versions are worth exploration. 

Consider the Sawsage Veggie: red peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, non-dairy cheese, and house-made, animal-free sausage. It’s built on a thin crust that combines initial crispness with a little chewy depth. There’s good veggie coverage, but the pressing question is this: what about that cheese and sausage? Cheese-wise, it’s good. It’s stretchy and soft, so you won’t notice much difference. The sausage has a softer texture than meat (more bean-y, perhaps), but it hits the savory spot.

How well does it hit the spot?  Well, two traditional meat-eating teenagers scarfed down the pie with high praises and zero complaints. 

The pizza is available Thursdays through Sundays only. For those who are contagion-conscious, pull up front at 3269 N. High St., and they will happily chuck it through the window of your car. You can view your order options here.

For more information, visit portiasdiner.com.

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