We were doing a little wine-focused agritourism in Washington’s sunny Yakima Valley. Wine tasting, chocolate sampling and asparagus hunting had gone well. But what about lunch? We were in the mood for something local that represented the bounty of the valley. Since the Yakima Valley supplies 75% of the hops in the U.S., we were excited to find out that our destination for lunch was HopTown Pizza and, they reportedly sprinkle local hops on their pizza dough and fire up their ovens with wood from area apple orchards.
HopTown Pizza – Women Entreprenuers
We were welcomed to the former Donald Fruit and Mercantile building by owners Lori Ann Roy and Carrie Wright. Casual, bubbly and tanned, they fit right in with the country setting and quaint building.
These entrepreneurial women weren’t sure what they wanted to do in the beginning. Roy is a retired teacher who was part of a Yakima Valley hop farming family and Wright, a website designer, grew up in a farming family in Oklahoma. So settling in the Yakima Valley was number one. Finding a viable business was the next step. They even considered a B&B.
Once they settled on a mobile oven pizza business they went to work researching pizza recipes and how to incorporate local produce into their menu. They also wanted to create a sense of community. The result was success, an ever-growing following and, ultimately, a desire to open a brick and mortar restaurant. While they still have the mobile pizza ovens and a cute blue “Tonka Truck,” their efforts went into readying an old mercantile building for their restaurant, bar and event space.
The Pizza Perfection Experience
We walked through the rambling mercantile building. The floorboards creaked. Our group gathered at a long wooden table and watched the pizzas being made in the kitchen’s applewood fired oven.
Beverages included local beers, wines and something creative… HopTown Frisky Seester Cider, the duo’s hop and fig libation. The cider is available only at HopTown and pairs well with the hoppy pizzas.
We selected our drinks and were served their creative version of cheese bread as a starter… “Farm-Aggio Bread” with fresh mozzarella cheese, oregano, rosemary and thyme on their Hop Nation beer infused crust. With one bite, I was hooked. The crust was wood-fired but remained soft, just soft enough. I looked forward to the pizzas.
Secretly, I was hoping that at least one pizza we would be tasting would have asparagus on it. I had been enjoying the Yakima Valley asparagus at most every stop on the tour. We tasted roasted asparagus at J. Bell Cellars. It was definitely the middle of asparagus harvest season and I am a fan of the succulent young shoots.
The pizzas were brought out and each was a creative masterpiece. And yes there was a pizza with asparagus on it!
Each pizza had perfectly baked crust, crusty in the right places and soft to the bite. As an example of their fresh creations, the “Hop Daddy Pizza” was served with house-made red sauce with roasted garlic, cheese blend, Italian sausage crumbles, pepperoni rounds, bacon crumbles, Roma tomatoes, red onions, Cascade hops, shaved parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese with fresh basil.
They also serve salads. The Cranberry Pecan Salad is made with fresh mixed greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola crumbles and dressed with raspberry vinaigrette.
It’s a fun place and we enjoyed the country atmosphere as we savored the freshness of the pizzas.
HopTown Pizza Hop Yard
Wanting to take advantage of the sunny weather, the owners set to work on the one acre adjacent to the building. They added a patio, bocce ball courts and a place for bands to play. All of this is surrounded by farmland and, across the street, an old hops drying shed.
Today, the “Hop Yard” is completed and HopTown Pizza offers fun events like a cider and farm festival with live music, cider olympics and fresh farm food. To find out about their events, follow the HopTown Pizza Facebook Page. There is plenty of outdoor space and so dogs are permitted.
When You Go to HopTown Pizza
I’ll be stopping at HopTown Pizza again… for the perfect pizza and the country atmosphere. It’s an ideal stop when out wine tasting or beer sampling in the Yakima Valley. They are located off I-82 South of Yakima on the way to Wapato. Take Exit 44 north toward the Shell Station. The address is 2560 Donald Wapato Rd., Donald, WA. Find out more about visiting Washington State from our Wander writers.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was hosted by Yakima Valley Tourism and was provided with a meal and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.