Out with friends one Yakima Friday night, with our kids in tow after a school event, and of course the dreaded, age-old question is uttered—“where should we go?” It’s interesting that no matter where in the world you find yourself, this is always a difficult query to address. So when someone in our group quickly suggested HopTown Pizza at Hop Nation, we pounced on the idea.
It was better than a great choice. It’s much more of a family friendly spot than most folks realize—casual setting, beers, Ms. Pac-Man, and amazing pizza. We were fortunate to hit live music Friday night, by happy accident, and were greeted by the awesome sounds of a father son duo calling themselves Hot Barbeque. The kids were in heaven with a fist full of quarters, and the grown-ups were equally as happy with beats and brews. It didn’t seem like it could get any better, and then we ordered pizza.
Lori Roy and Carrie Wright are the proprietors of HopTown Wood Fired Pizza, which operates inside of Hop Nation, and their pie is something special. You can spot the burning glow of their wood fire oven in the parking lot. Called HopTown as a way to pay homage to valley roots, they sprinkle Cascade hops on every single pizza that rolls out of their kitchen. Lori is a hop farmer’s daughter going back 5 generations, and her father, Lester Roy, was on the ground floor for bringing Cascade hops into the Yakima Valley, which makes that final sprinkling a true labor of love.
While Carrie is not originally from the Valley, she herself is a true farmer’s daughter from Oklahoma, and feels right at home in our agri-centric locale. Her roots are reflected in their business as well. Her mother’s nickname was Squirt, so the only soda they sell is—that’s right—Squirt.
Which brings me back to our night out. The kids got to personally choose their pizza toppings while interacting with Lori and Carrie. Their pies cooked up right next to the fire in about 2 minutes, catering to shorter attention spans and desire for instant gratification. The pride they felt in seeing their very own pizza cooked right in front of their eyes was almost as exciting as eating it.
The pizza was fantastic. While they do have the more traditional toppings if that’s what you’re into, what makes them special is their ability to think outside the pizza box. With names like the HopDaddyDo, the Angry Za, and the Hop Potato, you know it’s going to deliver something far better than the mozzarella bricks we grew up with. Their LocoLocal pie is always a valley reflected specialty, like the All About ‘Gus asparagus pizza or the Vali Pear with pears they get from Valicoff Fruit.
In short, you can’t go wrong. So in this busy holiday season, grab the family and head on down to Hop Nation for some HopTown Pie. While ugly sweaters and figgy pudding are always nice this time of year, why not go Yak-style and warm your belly with some hop inspired local brew and artisan pie. You’ll be glad you did.