Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Passadore's Pizzeria opens


by: CORY MIMMS - Tim Bilyeu turns on the open sign for the first time at Passadore's Pizzeria.After months of delays, Passadore’s Pizzeria opened its doors on Friday, March 7. The first pie they sold was to Molalla resident John White and his 14-year-old son, Wyatt. They ordered the AAA special—a Canadian bacon, sausage, pineapple and grilled onion pizza.

The opening day wasn’t without a few snags though, one in particular surprised the Passasdore’s crew. Around 5:30 on Friday, the brand new pizza oven quit working with every table full and a line of people running out the door into the parking lot, owner Tim Bilyeu said. by: CORY MIMMS - John White and his 14-year-old son, Wyatt, were the first patrons of Passadore's Pizzeria, which opened last week.

“Some people want perfection out of the gate,” Bilyeu said. “There’s always hiccups.”

Still, even with the oven down for the night, the Passadore’s crew pushed on, serving pastas, nachos and sandwiches the rest of the evening.

A technician came out first thing Saturday morning and got the oven working again. Passadore’s went on to serve about 650 pizzas over the weekend, Bilyeu said. “Way more people came out than we expected.”

Several dozen patrons came into the pizzeria in the first half hour of business, with some even waiting outside for the doors to open, and it was a steady stream after that. But getting those doors open took more effort than one might expect.

Tim and Gina Bilyeu intended to hold their grand opening in early December of last year, but Clackamas County building compliance issues held the opening up for months. They had to install all new plumbing, commercial hood vents with fire suppression systems, and pricey grease traps to comply with safety and health regulations.

To help curb the cost of all that new equipment and labor, the Bilyeu’s reached out to the community with a Kickstarter fund, but they raised $3,291 of the $23,000 they were asking for. Kickstarter funds are all or nothing though. But the Bilyeus kept moving forward toward their goal.

On Wednesday, March 5, the final permits and approvals came through from the city of Molalla. So, the Bilyeus made their final touches to the restaurant and announced their opening via Facebook. Within 24 hours, 77 people had shared the announcement, more than 120 people liked it, and the comments on it were wildly enthusiastic.

The day before opening, Tim Bilyeu said, “There’s so much to do to open a restaurant.”

“But it’s well worth it,” Gina Bilyeu added.

Tim and Gina worked late into the night on Thursday. Tim was up until 4 a.m., he said, cooking sauces and getting ready for the restaurant’s first day. Gina was right there beside him until about 2 a.m., she said.

The morning of the opening, the kitchen was busy. The Bilyeus’ children (Austin, Ashley and Aaron Alexander) and several other local teens the Bilyeus hired were making pies, bussing tables, and taking orders.

The Bilyeus have hired 10 people total, Tim said, and all but one of them is under 21 years old. Tim said both he and Gina wanted to give local teens a boost by providing them with jobs.

Almost the entire 15-person staff, including Tim and Gina, worked the opening weekend. Reservations for Friday evening flooded in once the Bilyeus announced their opening, racking up 122 people with reserved seats before the restaurant’s doors were even open. Tim said he was hoping to serve 300 people the first weekend in business. They served many more customers than that though.

Friday’s opening was just a “soft opening.” The restaurant’s grand opening will be in early April, Tim said, as they need time to get T-shirts made and beer and wine venders lined up for tastings.

For now, they’re simply focusing on getting the kitchen running smoothly and as efficiently as possible. The shining new pizza oven can cook 54 pies an hour. “If we’re fast enough,” Tim said, laughing.