Southeast Portland Bar Serving New Jersey-Style Tavern Pizza Will Open

A neighborhood haunt with a relaxed atmosphere in Orange, New Jersey, Star Tavern has been serving beer and bar snacks for over six decades. However, most people know the bar for its pizza: super-thin, triangular-cut pies, similar to a Chicago tavern or Minnesota thin-crust pizza, with toppings all the way to the edge. Its pizza has garnered worldwide praise. New York Timesplus a number of loyal customers.

4,881 miles away, restaurateur Aaron Barnes wants to try recreating this style of pizza at a new sports bar in Southeast Portland. Hopscotch, which will open before the Super Bowl in Hawthorne, will offer draft cocktails, East Coast bar snacks and New Jersey tavern-style pizza.

Owner of the jazz bar and restaurant 1905 and the Broadway Italian restaurant Scholar, Barnes became a pizza aficionado. All of its restaurants serve some form of pizza, though they tend to be closer to traditional New York style. However, given the nature of the sports bar, Barnes felt that the New Jersey style made more sense.

“It’s like fancy Totino’s,” he says. “There’s an accessibility that doesn’t feel so pretentious. Daily pizza.”

At Hopscotch, pizzas will start with dough prepared using Shepherd’s Grain flours and thinned with a rolling pin. The pies come with typical toppings such as green peppers, onions, olives, fresh tomatoes and sausage. Gluten-free pizzas made with Caputo’s gluten-free flour will also be available.

Other than pizza, the menu will stick to bar staples like burgers, nachos, and fries, as well as things like fried oysters and fried avocado with remoulade. Chef Grahme Meneses will offer three different types of wings: Buffalo, gochujang, and dry-rubbed (aka “The Business”). “The idea is not to reinvent the wheel,” says Barnes. “We want to be a family-friendly sports bar with a quick drink program.”

For Hopscotch, “fast-paced” usually refers to a focus on tap drinks. Beyond the 21 beers on tap, the bar will feature pre-batch and tap cocktails like Manhattans, Negronis, Aperol spritzes, and margaritas. The rest of the taps will be reserved for wine and root beer. The bar will also stock a handful of spirits for more specialty drinks. “We have the ability to do other things, but efficiency is key,” says co-owner Colin Jensen.

Inside the bar there will be 150 seats and a back patio for sunny days; The team hopes to open the bar by February 1, or by the Super Bowl at the latest. The bar’s sister café, Hopscotch Coffee, is currently serving Roseline espresso and homemade pastries.

Hopscotch opens at 4334 SE Hawthorne Blvd.