I love cheese with the passionate heat of a thousand pizza ovens. If it were socially acceptable, I would wrap my body in a gown of melted mozzarella and don a hat made of gouda.
My fondness for cheese is one of a dozen reasons I’m smitten with Little Pizza Paradise. These guys know good cheese, and they know how to be very, very generous with it.
I learned this when they invited the Visit Bend crew to dinner and welcomed us with a giant platter of garlic cheese bread. Normally, I’m not that keen on ordering cheese bread if I’m going to order pizza anyway.
But Little Pizza Paradise does such an exceptional job with the dish, it’s worth the risk of filling up before the main course. For $6.95, you get a hefty helping of their homemade dough topped with garlic herb sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese, served with ranch dressing or tasty marina. It was so deliciously cheesy and gooey that I ate three pieces before pausing to sip my beer.
And oh, the beer! These guys take their beer as seriously as they take the cheese, which is saying something. The night we visited, they had 15 beers on draft, plus 30 more choices in cans and bottles, including cider and gluten-free beers. There are oodles of offerings from breweries along the Bend Ale Trail, as well as unique choices from out-of-area. I opted for a tasty Firestone Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA (say that five times fast) while others at the table sampled ciders, wines, and a wide range of brews.
We were still licking cheese from our fingers when the salads arrived. Their house salad is a simple blend of sweet spring mix with cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and parmesan, but it’s the homemade dressings that makes it special. Choose from ranch, blue cheese, Italian, caesar, mango curry vinaigrette, and our staff favorite, the creamy basil pesto. Divine!
You’d think it might be challenging to choose pizza for a group that includes a vegetarian, a gluten-free diner, a handful of serious carnivores, and one person with garlic intolerance. But Little Pizza Paradise had no trouble accommodating our special needs. We sampled the Bianca Pizza, a traditional white pizza made with garlic oil sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheese. We also devoured the Super Veggie topped with spinach, mushrooms, red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, red onions, and feta cheese; as well as a pie dubbed The Works, which featured Canadian bacon, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, red onions, black olives, and bell peppers.
You can choose either a 14-inch pie with a price tag ranging from $15.50-$19.50, or an 18-incher from $22.50-$29.95.
Want a pizza all to yourself? Create your own 8-inch personal pizza with two toppings for $7.50 (add .50 apiece for extra toppings) or a 10.5-inch gluten-free pizza with two toppings for $10.
Besides pizza, the menu includes a variety of calzones, pitas, and sub sandwiches. Little Pizza Paradise also offers a number of terrific lunch deals from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Choose from a slice & a soda ($4.50-$4.75); a slice, salad, & soda ($6-$6.75); or a slice & a draft ($6-$6.50). Perfect for an afternoon spent bopping around between shops at the Cascade Village Shopping Center.
Just make sure you take plenty of time to savor the cheese.
And ask them about that cheese gown, OK? I think I’m onto something with that.