New Beginnings for Foundation Brewing Company
Detroit-style pizza and a new kitchen mark a turning point for the Brewery
At the height of the pandemic when most bars and restaurants were struggling with reduced capacity—some even shutting down—the co-founders of Foundation Brewing Co. in Portland were going in the opposite direction—making plans to open a new kitchen on the brewery’s premises.
“I’ve always baked as a hobby and was stress baking at the time,” said co-founder John Bonney. “My wife, Tina and I grew up in Detroit, and I started making Detroit-style pizza, which is square. My kids love it and we began thinking of an original menu around it.”
After almost nine years in the brewing industry, Foundation’s co-owners—two couples, John and Tina Bonney and Joel and Christie Mahaffey—envisioned adding a kitchen to their brewery at One Industrial Way. “We are always looking to create ways for people to have more fun, hang out, and enjoy themselves,” said Bonney.
As it turns out, the pandemic changed how people visited breweries during 2020-2022 with patrons looking to settle down in one place, have more of a casual experience, and take their time. Foundation has a big outdoor space where people could socially distance, yet congregate with their own “pod” of friends. Bonney said for a long time, the brewery has had good relationships with food trucks, but that the logistics were sometimes difficult to manage. During the last two years, Foundation’s owners solidified plans to put a kitchen in place—hoping, with a crystal ball, that the pandemic would wind down enough to open it.
The timing turned out to be perfect. The kitchen has been now been open since the last week of August and it’s a business model that works, given how the industrial park is set up, with people wandering in after brewery-hopping.
Back to their unique pizza. Neopolitan wood-fired pizza is fairly popular already in Maine but Detroit-style is cooked in a pan. One hallmark is that the cheese—mozzarella brick cheese and cheddar—melts down all the sides of pizza, so you have a crunchy, crispy, cheesy outer crust. The sauce is a little bolder and added after cooking the pizza, which brings out a brighter flavor.
“Christie and Joel are vegetarian, so we wanted to honor that ethos building from original Detroit-style as the hallmark of our menu,” said Bonney. “Eventually, we added a Greek pizza, a Bahn Mi, and the popular Buffalo Chicken.”
Bonney said that their IPAs pair very well with the flavors of Chorizo pizza and the light, clean fruitness of the Kolsch pairs nicely with the spiciness of the pepperoni pizza.
“We’ve been getting great feedback on it,” he said.
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The Kitchen is open Thursday-Saturday (12 to 8 p.m.) and Sunday/Monday (12 to 6 p.m.). The kitchen stops taking orders 45 minutes before closing time. Last call is 15 minutes before close. The Tasting Room is additionally open on Wednesdays from 12 to 6 p.m. (without pizza). For more information visit: www.foundationbrew.com