Our family needs a break from routine by the end of the week. Sometimes we make simple meals like breakfast for dinner and enjoy a movie at home. Other Fridays DP and MP will throw up our hands and say, “Let’s go out!” On this particular night, we had the new-to-us Otto Pizza in South Portland on the brain. The popular pizza place, which has two other locations in Portland, set up shop in an old gas station. The location looked so cool, we wanted to experience it for ourselves.
We arrived on a warm September evening, and Otto was packed with kids and grownups. The garage doors were open, and many families opted for outdoor seating (which faces busy Cottage Street). There were a also few people in line for take-out. Despite the crowd, not much time went by before we were lead to our table.
After ordering drinks—Allagash White for the adults, and lemonades for the kids—the four of us took in the cool space. MP loved the details that Otto maintained in the building, such as the large paned windows and the letters that spell out, “Volkswagen” above them. The square glass water bottles on each table, which had a vintage, industrial look, were also a clever nod to the filling station theme (MP didn’t take a photo, but you can see them here).
If you’ve never been to Otto, the restaurant is best known for their unique and delicious toppings. MP and DP typically opt for the popular mashed potato, bacon and scallion pizza, but on this night, we decided to try something new and ordered pie topped with kalamata olives, red peppers, garlic and asiago. The kids kept to their standard: half cheese, half pepperoni.
Our food and drinks arrived quickly. MP and DP appreciate a crispy crust and in that regard, Otto never disappoints. Unfortunately, on this night, our grownup pizza lacked the flavor we’ve come to expect from Otto. We found ourselves dipping into the kids’ pepperoni half of the pie, which had the savory kick we were craving.
Still, the warm night and the great location had us all in good moods, and we left with a big box of leftovers. DP and MP will definitely take the family to the SoPo Otto again, but taking a cue from the kids, we’ll stick to our standard favorite.
159 Cottage Road