I don’t know if it was the word “Pizza” that caught my eye, or the fact that the sign out front offered 50 micros and requested I “honk” if I like “Pauly Shore.” But whatever it was, they got me.
Beaver and duck flags flapped out front. A small, fenced patio stretched out back, and Boneyard’s RPM beckoned from the row of tap handles. Next to the few round tables on the inside was a cooler of 22 oz. micro brews, just waiting to be taken home with an unbaked pie.
The eat-in or take-out menu was simple and straightforward: 12 signature pizzas offered in 6, 12 or 18-inch sizes, four sandwiches, three salads and build-your-own pizzas or calzones. Four of us deciding on one pie proved impossible, so I picked a salad and calzone for myself, and the others split a large 18” pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage and olives—with pineapple on three-fourths of it.
The Greek spinach salad was topped with artichoke hearts, chicken, Kalamata olives and feta. We inhaled it quickly in a family-style feeding frenzy as we waited for the pizza and calzone to bake.
Open since June of 2011, Raganelli’s began with a little guidance from the boys at 10 Barrel. As they expanded the menu, owner Patrick MacCrone—who named the restaurant after his Italian great grandfather Vito Raganelli—also sought advice from his friend Hans Weiss. The former owner of Bend’s sorely missed Hans Bakery, Weiss helped MacCrone tweak and improve the dough recipe and, together, they decided to create it from scratch each day and hand toss it to order.
“It’s the crust,” boasts the menu.
And after careful calculations, and many bites, we had to admit it was pretty good dough.
With a thin crust and ample cheese, I had to urge the kids to wait until the piping hot pizza set before tugging at their first slice. The sauce was sparingly applied and not too sweet. And the crust was crispy enough to sustain the weight of the layered toppings, but thin enough to require a two-handed hold as the sloping point of the first bite was ushered in. Three thumbs up from the gallery.
The “Stinking Rose” calzone was huge, appearing as though an 18” pizza had been folded in half—larger and flatter than the swollen oval I had imagined. The creamy inside was sauced with alfredo and stuffed with chicken, sundried tomatoes, feta and roasted garlic. I liked the corners best, soft and doughy like a breadstick.
Though we didn’t try the sandwiches, we had a hard time deciding not to. Just $8 ($5.99 for a half) with choices from a Philly cheesesteak to a roast beef with blue cheese and spicy mustard to the owner’s namesake Paddy’s House Sandwich, which comes stacked with pepperoni and ham and slathered with a sundried tomato/basil pesto.
The two bearded men on duty were experienced, friendly and helpful. They even noticed a tire on the van had lost some air, suggesting we top it up at the nearby gas station before heading home.
As for the food, we felt it was a great value for the price tag—18” pizzas are just $14 to $20. The enormous calzone was just $10.75.
I wished the balsamic vinaigrette had been emulsified better and the ranch dressing seemed Sysco-esque, but the only real complaint I had was the continuous set of Van Halen rocking from the iPod (sorry guys).
Sitting in the mottled summer sunshine as it filtered through the breeze-blown trees above, we soaked up the final hour of our staycation—happy to have found another small-town Tumalo hangout and one more watering hole for future visits.
Photo taken by Laura Kessinger.
Raganelli’s Take & Bake Pizza
64702 Cook Ave., downtown Tumalo
Open Tuesday to Saturday 12 p.m.
to 8:30 p.m.
Sundays 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.