A Portland Soda Partner with Pizza Magic: HotLips Pizza

Jeana Edelman calls it pizza magic, that “thing” about pizza. She should know: Jeana and her husband David Yudkin took over HotLips Pizza from Jeana’s father in the mid 80’s, growing it into the poster-child for locavore eating that it is today. Of course, it’s hard to go really wrong with pizza: It’s the one food that pleases everyone: an all-ages, food preference-adjustable, super-convenient, daytime, nighttime, better-the-next-day, memories-making, affordable, recession-proof, and apparently pandemic-proof all-in-one go-to meal for pretty much all of us.

HotLips magic on the other hand? That’s all David and Jeana. With five pizzerias in Portland, a commissary kitchen, a soda brewing operation and a catering department equipped with mobile pizza oven, HotLips is a local success-story. And with a focus on serving fresh food with locally sourced or grown ingredients and sustainable business practices, it’s also a Portland pioneer. Sound familiar, Burgerville fans? We thought so! We spent a warm August night in their lovely SE Portland garden, sipping, nibbling and reminiscing about those early days.

More pizza magic: a values-based food business can thrive.

It’s easy for folks new to the Portland food scene to think this whole local, fresh, sustainable thing is recent. It’s not. In fact, David remembers conversations about food miles, carbon footprint and the effect on climate change in 2001 as they were settling into their newest pizzeria in the brand-new EcoTrust Natural Capital Center. With climate change speeding up and with today’s pandemic affecting our food supply, those conversations are even more relevant today. Businesses like Hot Lips and Burgerville buy directly from local family farms, and right now that’s keeping some of them in business.

Pizza magic extends to soda.

David and Jeana aren’t the type of people to sit still. They like to fix things like, say, soda. Like many pizzerias, HotLips served Coke which is as far from local and fresh as one can get. Wanting to serve an alternative that was also healthier, they decided to make their own. Surrounded by berry farms and breweries eager to help out, they dove into the fruit soda biz. A few hits, a few misses –think a viscous strawberry: delicious, but too weird – they’ve settled on three winners: Raspberry, Ginger and Marionberry. Today you can buy Hot Lips soda in retail shops and, thanks to our new partnership, you’ll find their Marionberry Soda in our all-new Marionberry floats this Fall. (Can anyone really ever get enough marionberries? We think not.)

Pizza magic holds steady.

Of all the restaurants and food businesses affected by the pandemic, somehow, pizzerias remain if not immune (“cheese prices are crazy right now and the pizza business is really the cheese business,” says David) then pretty well insulated. Their product is already set up for take-out and delivery, it’s pizza and, it’s HotLips, perhaps the most magical pizza in Portland.

Learn more about HotLips and try out our new Marionberry Float.