“We actually were looking for a spot on Northeast Sandy Boulevard and were directed to this place,” explained David Yudkin, owner of Hot Lips Pizza. Yudkin owns five other stores: at Portland State University, by Providence Park, in the Pearl, on Northeast Killingsworth Street and on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. He plans to open the newest pizzeria on New Year’s Eve and call it Hot Lips Hollywood.
Yudkin’s mid-October announcement came as Otto’s opened in Roseway and Fire + Stone Restaurant scheduled a planned November debut in Beaumont-Wilshire – both have pizza prominent on their menus. Yudkin hopes to employ about 22 in the new store; about a dozen of them will have experience at other Hot Lips locations.
Pizza tossing will be done in view of windows facing Northeast Sandy Boulevard, giving passersby a bit of entertainment and maybe an incentive to come in. “We’re concentrating on Northwest beers,” Yudkin said, “and will have 24 taps located about midway towards the back of the bar.”
The Hot Lips Killingsworth store now covers delivery in the Hollywood area, but the new store will expand delivery to an area bounded by Northeast 82nd Avenue, the Lloyd District, Northeast Fremont Street and Southeast Belmont Street.
Yudkin and his wife, Jena Edelman, bought into the Hot Lips franchise in 1988 — Edelman’s parents were the original owners — with an initial assignment to run Hot Lips’ Seattle stores. Yudkin sold the Seattle locations when his father-in-law’s health worsened in 1993, and he and his wife moved to Portland. In 1994, Yudkin bought the business outright.
The former Pal’s Shanty has undergone extensive renovation since November 2013’s multiple-alarm arson blaze. The building first opened in 1911 as the Elite Theater, showing silent flicks. The concrete foundation under the wood floor slants downward toward the south wall where the movie screen used to be. In the 1920s, an antique-and-pawn shop occupied the building, and in 1937 the original Pal’s Shanty opened in an actual shack across Sandy Boulevard on the north side.
The Hanson Family took ownership of Pal’s Shanty and moved to the south side of Sandy in 1967, where they opened on December 31. Yudkin said, “I’m excited, because this is Hot Lips’ thirtieth anniversary, so we plan on opening on New Year’s Eve, too.”
A stage for live entertainment is planned against the south wall. The eating area will occupy the east side of the restaurant in full view of a brick billboard mural that touts the Sandy Road Grocery Store, which was originally in the building to the east, along with an ad for flour. Taking orders, bar service, kitchen prep and pizza ovens will be on the west side.
Yudkin looks forward to becoming part of the Hollywood community, joining the Boosters, the Neighborhood Association and assisting organizations as Hot Lips does at its other locations. “We’re in this for the long haul, and we’ll be working hard to open at the end of the year,” Yudkin said.
Part of the mural that will serve as the inside wall of the new Hot Lips Hollywood Pizza shop when the franchise’s sixth store opens on December 31. The historic brick billboard, from the former Pal’s Shanty that was gutted by an arson fire in November 2013, has been partially restored. It was the façade of what was once the Sandy Road Grocery Store more than 100 years ago.