6024 NE Glisan, 234-7654

I went to UFO Pizza for two reasons: I was told they bake up the best pizza in town, and the owner is allegedly The Hub of Information on flying saucers in Oregon. Stepping into a small, stripped-down hovel with a deep blue, star-and-constellation, plastered ceiling, I sensed that I might have been duped into a coy joke. With two bikini-clad aliens frolicking on the menu's cover, I thought, "Wait a Mulder-fucking minute, they're not taking this UFO business seriously." But thankfully, all was not lost; I can say, at least, that UFO is a serious contender for best pizza in town.

I grew up near Chicago, and was weaned on deep dish, inch-thick piecrust. But that doesn't mean I prefer it that way. No, I actually don't need to eat an entire loaf of bread with my pizza. Instead, I like my crust just hefty enough to carry its load of meat and vegetables--a mark that UFO hits exactly.

The pizzas range from the simple Moon (just cheese) to the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Galaxy (pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms, and olives). No yuppie gimmicks like pesto and pine nuts here--just down-to-earth, good pizza. We ordered a large (significant at 19 inches and not too pricey at $18), half-Zodiac, half-Venus pizza--half green peppers, mushrooms, olives, and feta; the other half, Canadian bacon and pineapple. The Venus side was fantastic--the green peppers were still crisp and the feta was piled generously. But the same light-touch cooking that left the peppers crunchy left the Canadian bacon lacking crisp.

Hoping to catch the elusive UFO enthusiasts, we timed our dinner with their weekly meeting (5:45 pm, Thursday). The walls are covered with crayon drawings of circuit breakers and plans for airplanes that the owner explained that his nine-year-old daughter drew, as calmly as if telling us that she loves horses and puppy dogs. Sadly, only two guys showed up and, in confidential tones with the owner, talked about a stack of files and wondered why the "government" didn't want people to know the truth. It was so cliché that I thought it might be a floor show staged for our benefit.

Surprisingly down-to-earth, the UFO club was disappointing; but that doesn't take anything away from the pizza.