The Pizza Research Institute, or just "PRI" as Eugenians like to call it, makes hippie pizza. Not pizza-pizza. "Hippie pizza," as Mark Kosmicki of the Party Cart in Eugene clarified for us when we told him we were going that night. At PRI, you won't find pepperoni. Nope, just baked spicy tofu, huge trees of broccoli and cauliflower, dried apricots, pesto, gluten-free crust, and a vegan alternative to everything.
Also, plenty of great local microbrews like Ninkasi on tap (some of our favorite beer in all of Oregon) advertised on paper-plate signage hanging inside. Another drink option: hemp cola.
There's open-air seating when the weather's nice, with twinkle lights hanging, plenty of greenery and a mishmash dumpster-diver aesthetic.
But back to the pizza. You can order by the slice or whole pie. The "Chef's Choice" includes a smattering of 10 toppings arranged in a mandala pattern. (When's the last time your toppings were arranged in a concentric spiritual design?) Each colorful slice is covered in broccoli, zucchini, carrots, medium-raw potato, mushroom, onions, carrots, black olives, red onions, a blanket of mozzarella and cheddar, and a heavy hand of dried herb seasoning. So heavy, it took me a few extra rounds of toothbrushing to remove the oregano onslaught in my mouth that night.
The pear, potato and vegan pesto slice was also doused in oregano flecks, which coated every whopper slice of pear and potato. The crust was one of the saddest parts: too thick and tough to saw apart with a knife, and challenging to even find underneath the bulk of toppings.
Pizza Research Institute
1328 Lawrence Street, Eugene OR 97403 541-343-1307; www.pizzaresearchinstitute.com