New artisanal pizza restaurant Hey, Neighbor moves in on 19th Street

Hey, Neighbor Pizza House is a new food joint located on 19th Street. An Emerald favorite is the Delicata, a pizza with tangy gorgonzola, sweet squash and salty ham. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

Hey, Neighbor Pizza House is located on East 19th Street next to Sweet Life Patisserie and Prince Pucklers — a great location for the owners to introduce their 12-inch artisanal pizzas to the University of Oregon area. The pizza itself is just the right amount gourmet without getting too complicated. Different pie options mix delicious flavor profiles like sweet and savory, without compromising the classic taste of a well-made, wood-fired pizza.

Hey, Neighbor serves pizza and salads (sandwiches coming soon) at a reasonable price — $9 for a basic pizza, which is similar to a traditional Margherita pizza. Added toppings are $2 each and more complex pies go up to $14. All of the pizzas come prepared by experienced chefs and baked in the wood-fired oven.

The crust is perfectly crispy while remaining just the right amount chewy. The mozzarella and tomato sauce in the basic pizza taste like they are made from premium ingredients used just right. Some of the other pizza options, like the Delicata, use tangy gorgonzola paired with sweet squash and salty ham to give the customer a full flavor experience.

Calen Willis, owner and chef at Hey, Neighbor, first began making pizza 18 years ago in a small, pizza-by-the-slice restaurant in Salem, Oregon.  “I worked in a little, tiny New York-style slice shop,” Willis said. “I kinda just fell in love with it at 17 years old and I just haven’t stopped.”

Eventually, Willis made his way to Eugene where he managed the Pegasus Pizza locations.

Willis and the other two owners, Adie and Dug Beaird, have a lot of business experience.  In addition to Hey, Neighbor, The Beairds own and operate Agate Alley Bistro, a joint that serves gourmet food and turns into a local bar after dark. Their experience managing a bar is made clear at Hey, Neighbor — there is a hip, casual ambiance that doesn’t threaten the comfort of a neighborhood hangout.

“We all just have a spot in our heart for the residents here, students supporting businesses here and just the neighborly vibe,” said Adie Beaird.

Willis and the Beairds had been casually looking for a place to open their idea for a new pizza spot when Willis found this vacant site while on a walk with his dogs. The little house was a perfect location to bring their vision to life. The name, “Hey, Neighbor,” was born out of their love for the surrounding community. Both Adie Beaird and Willis emphasized how welcoming the surrounding residents and business owners were when they moved in.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Hey, Neighbor offers a special lunchtime deal: Half a pizza costs between $5 and $6. Next up, Willis has been thinking of new and delicious ideas for what he wants in his “comfort food” sandwiches. He tossed out ideas like a traditional meatball sub or a pulled lamb creation to round out the menu.

The food isn’t the only thing Hey, Neighbor is trying to get right. The ambiance is something the three owners put a lot of thought into. Because the restaurant is located inside an old house, the vibe is very comfortable and intimate. Wooden picnic tables are available outside while the inside holds more traditional seating. Patrons who are 21 and over can enjoy four local beers on tap and a full-service bar. There is also a TV inside for guests trying to catch an important game while gorging on their cheesy pie.

Hey, Neighbor is a great spot for those looking for a relaxed, but delicious experience with fun neighborhood vibes. The menu has something to offer everyone — vegetarian and gluten-free options included — with its wide selection of well-curated pies. Willis highly recommends getting the Salsiccia: a spicy, tart mix of sausage, mozzarella, crushed tomato and pickled peppers.

Happy eating!

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