About elshepherd

Marketing professional working and living in Portland, ME.

It’s our birthday, and we have presents for you!

We’re 9!

On June 18, 2009, Mike Keon and Anthony Allen opened the first OTTO, a tiny slice shop on Congress Street. Nine years, 12 locations (soon to be 13!), and millions (yes millions) of pizzas later, we are so incredibly thankful for all the hard work and passion that our employees have put into making OTTO what it is today.  But none of it would be possible without you, our customers. When everyone told us mashed potatoes on pizza would never fly, you proved them wrong. You have been with us through thick and thin (not a crust joke, we swear!), and we greatly appreciate your loyalty over the past nine years.

New Menu!

As a way to say thank you for the past nine years, we have a present for you. Today, at all locations, we are rolling out a new menu, which, aside from featuring most of your OTTO favorites, includes:

  • New pie additions:
    • Mango Habanero Chicken (or Cauliflower), with House-made Pineapple Salsa
    • Arugula, Red Onion & Kalamata Olives
    • Jalapeno, Bacon & Ricotta
    • Pineapple Salsa, Bacon & Fresh Jalapeño
    • Sausage & Broccoli
    • Buffalo Cauliflower, Scallion & Blue Cheese
  • New salads:
    • Greek Salad
    • Chicken Cobb
  • Vegan Cheese Options
    • Violife Mozzarella-style shred may be added to any pie
    • Note: All non-meat toppings (with the exception of our butternut squash and mashed potatoes) are prepared vegan.
    • Our Mushroom and Cauliflower are now prepared vegan
  • Detroit Style Pizza (at select locations)
    • This delicious, thick, deep-dish, crispy-crust treat is now on the menu at our Brookline and Munjoy Hill locations
  • Everything Knots (at select locations)
    • Our dough baked and sprinkled with ‘everything’ seasoning
    • Available at several OTTO locations: All Portland and South Portland locations, Yarmouth, and Brookline

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Rising Tide Collaboration Beer!

OscarTango_Poster_2017Our fourth release of our Spring collaboration with Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing Company, Oscar Tango Tango Oscar, is currently pouring in ME locations, and will be rolling out to MA locations in the coming days!

Oscar Tango Tango Oscar is a crisp, snappy, and sessionable pale ale brewed with rice. The perfect thing to pair with one of our new pies.

New Box!

Mali_J

Our new pizza boxes will be hitting the streets this week! The box cover design comes from Mali, a 7th grader at King Middle School in Portland. Mali competed with hundreds of students throughout New England, made it through the voting phase, and then was named the winner by our panel of judges. Mali’s school was given $1000 towards art education, and Mali and runners up received pizza parties, OTTO swag, prize packs from Artist & Craftsman Supply.

Come on out and help us celebrate nine years of OTTO!

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Hello, Saco! OTTO opening full-service location adjacent to Cinemagic IMAX!

Untitled-1The rumors are true. OTTO will be opening its 7th Maine location this June on Route 1 in Saco, adjacent to the Cinemagic IMAX theater and across the street from Funtown Splashtown.

The 80-seat location at 779 Portland Road will feature all the OTTO bells and whistles, and then some:

  • Quick-serve slice counter
  • Full-service dining room
  • Full bar (with 12-20 taps of regional craft beer)
  • Takeout counter
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Delivery
  • Weekly fundraiser series

We are thrilled to become part of the neighborhood, and we have been humbled by an abundance of well-wishes and welcomes from Saco residents, businesses, employees and organizations. We can’t express how excited we are.

To stay up to date on our progress, opening dates, events, and more, please like our OTTO Saco Facebook page.  For employment opportunities, please visit our careers page.

See you this summer, Saco!

OTTO featured in ‘Crusts: The Ultimate Baker’s Book’

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OTTO founders Anthony Allen and Mike Keon are featured in Crusts, a brand new, 848-page baking book from Cider Mill Press.

Crusts: The Ultimate Baker’s Book features over 300 recipes from expert bakers around the world, covering breads, croissants, pizzas, pies, and more. The publisher describes the cookbook as “the ultimate resource for every level chef, and is a keystone addition to your cookbook library.”

Written by Barbara Elisi Caracciolo, owner of Spigamadre bakery in Sweden and blogger behind Bread and Companatico, Crusts runs the gamut, featuring: gluten-free, Paleo, vegetarian, and vegan recipes; complete how-to sections on making your own dough, bread, and pizzas with easy-to-follow instructions; helpful tips and techniques from expert bakers and chefs; culinary histories behind your favorite loaves and pastries; an illustrated catalog of more than 100 grains from around the world and throughout time, and much more.

IMG_7097The book features a profile on OTTO, an interview with owners Mike and Anthony, and the recipe for OTTO’s signature ‘Masher’ pie (Mashed Potato, Bacon & Scallion), which has been named one of the best pizzas in America by The Food Network.

It’s an elegant and informative book, packed with a wealth of insight and inspiration. Pick it up at your local independent bookstore, directly from the publisher, or anywhere books are sold.

OTTO Rewards just got a whole lot awesomer

Rewards_Box_Flyer copyIf you’re an OTTO Rewards member, things just got a whole lot better.  If you’re not an OTTO Rewards member, there’s never been a better time to join!

We have been listening, and we are pleased to announce some exciting changes to OTTO Rewards:

  • Faster Rewards: New members will receive their first reward ($5 off) at 50 points — and, as always, you get 20 points just for signing up! Receive a second reward ($5 off) at 100 points, and then $10 off for each additional 100 points earned!
  • Longer-lasting Rewards: Members now have twice as long (60 days!) to redeem rewards.
  • Exclusive Offers: OTTO Rewards members will be eligible for exclusive offers and opportunities!
  • Additional Rewards Opportunities: In the coming months, OTTO Rewards members will have opportunities to earn additional Rewards opportunities, including OTTO swag, exclusive experiences, and special events!

Start earning dough today! We have two quick & easy ways to join:

Through the OTTO Mobile App
• Download the OTTO App from the Apple App Store or Google Play
• Join by clicking on the Rewards button
• Start earning points (get 20 points just for signing up!)

Online at ottoportland.com/rewards
• Quick & easy sign-up
• Start earning points (20 bonus points just for signing up!)

20 Taps! New Menu Items! Cocktails! A New Beer! Lots to celebrate at OTTO’s Spring Smörgåsbord!

It may not look much like Spring out there, but everything’s new at OTTO East End (225 Congress Street). The second-oldest OTTO location, located at the foot of Munjoy Hill, has just received a Spring refresh!

Join us on Thursday, March 15 from 5-8pm for our Spring Smörgåsbord, showcasing a bevy of exclusive new additions to the East End OTTO.

During the event, 50% of all sales of new menu items will be donated to our friends, the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.

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20 Taps!
We’ve vastly expanded our tap lines, and will be featuring the very best in regional craft beer!

Pizza Night IPA
We’ll be launching Pizza Night IPA, our brand new beer collaboration with Banded Horn Brewing Co. made with Simcoe, Mosaic, Azacca and Summit hops. An herbal, grassy, piney & tropical-flavored IPA made just for OTTO.

Signature Cocktails
Moscow Mule
Gin Basil Collins
Manhattan
Rosemary Margarita
OTTO Palmer

New Bar Menu!
A slew of delicious new things that we like to call ‘Not Pizza:’
Sliders (Meatball, Falafel, or Pulled Pork)
Hand-Cut Fries w/House-Made Sauces (Buffalo-Dusted or Loaded)
Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Everything Knots

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Detroit Style Pizza
We’ve held several pop-ups in Maine and Massachusetts to perfect our take on Detroit-Style pie, and we’re thrilled to be serving it full-time at OTTO East End. Expect a delicious, square-shaped, deeper dish pie with a thick, crispy crust.

Come on down! We look forward to seeing you!a5b74674-ed6b-4826-b9a1-a04138fa8007

Get happy: Free slice with purchase of specially priced ‘beer of the month’

HappyHour_2018_FBA free slice with the purchase of a specially priced local craft beer? Yes, please.

Starting TODAY, 3/1 we will be offering a Happy Hour ‘Beer of the Month’ at all of our Maine locations!

This month, our featured beer is Austin Street Brewery Patina Pale!

We are working closely with all of your favorite local breweries to feature some really great beers in the coming months, including limited and exclusive offerings.

As always, wine is $5/glass and you can receive a FREE SLICE with a draft beer or wine purchase during Happy Hour – Monday-Thursday between 4-6 PM.

PLUS, our March special begins today – Lemon-Roasted Asparagus with Red Onion & Ricotta!

*limit 1 free slice per visit. Available at Maine OTTO locations only.

OTTO’s ‘Draw Outside of the Box’ Contest: The Winners!

On September 18 of 2017, we began receiving the first entries in our ‘Draw Outside of the Box‘ contest, in which young designers from kindergarten through 8th grade could compete for the opportunity to have their design grace thousands of OTTO pizza boxes throughout Maine and Massachusetts.

264 entries, thousands of votes, 31 finalists, and 6 judges later, we have our winners.

We want to take a moment to thank each of the amazing artists who competed, our judges who took time out of their busy schedules to select the winning designs, Artist & Craftsman Supply, who generously donated additional prizes for the winner’s school and for 1st-3rd place finalists, and Colony Foods, who are graciously donating the plates and production work required to print the winning design.

All of us (including everyone at OTTO, our panel of judges, and our customers) were completely blown away by the talent on display in each of the wonderful entries. We all look forward to seeing each young artist nourish their talent and creativity, and share their art with their communities, and with the world.

Although there were so many worthy entries, our esteemed panel of judges did have the difficult task of selecting the three winning designs out of 31 finalists.

Drum roll please…

FIRST PLACE
Mali J
King Middle School
Portland, ME
Mali_J
Our New York City-based judge, the Clio-winning and Grammy-nominated designer James Spindler, was “really impressed” by this “future graphic design star”.

Spindler applauded the design’s “great use of two colors, and an entirely original and highly graphic type treatment and layout.”

Clif Stoltze, founder and creative director of Boston-based Stoltze Design Group, echoed Spindler’s sentiments, stating, “I appreciate the symmetrical incorporation of the type into the sliced pizza, as well as the representation of all the flavors Portland/OTTO offers.”

Our 2013 contest winner, Ella Trout, stated, “It’s very mature, especially for such a young artist! You can tell that a lot of thought and careful work has been put into this design, and I love how each slice of the pie represents something about Maine.”

OTTO’s designers are currently working on preparing Mali’s design for print. A version of this winning design will soon be printed on thousands of pizza boxes and distributed to all OTTO locations throughout New England. Mali will also receive a pizza party, a $100 OTTO gift card, a $100 Artist & Craftsman Supply gift card, an OTTO t-shirt, and an OTTO cap. King Middle School, where Mali attends, will receive a check for $1000 to support art education and a $250 Artist & Craftsman Supply gift card.

Way to go, Mali! We’re so excited to see this design on our boxes!

 

SECOND PLACE
Mattea L-S
King Middle School
MatteaLoSears
Returning judge Scott Nash, Portland-based illustrator of over 50 beloved children’s books, states, “Mattea’s madala symbolically conjures the aroma and taste of OTTO’s pizza. Garlic, smokey bacon, herbs, and a little char.”

Nash was impressed that, while offered the use of four colors, Mattea’s design is black and white, “which is very much a part of OTTO’s graphic identity.”

Clif Stoltze applauded the “gorgeous execution” of this “well-crafted entry.”

Ella Trout states, “I love this one because of the obvious skill this young artist possesses.” She cited Mattea’s design’s “captivating design qualities.” “You can’t help but look at it…It has a funkiness that is shared with OTTO.”

Mattea wins a pizza party, a $50 OTTO gift card, an OTTO t-shirt and hat, and a prize pack from Artist & Craftsman.  Congrats, Mattea!

 

THIRD PLACE
Lilah G
King Middle School
Portland, ME
Lilah_G
Multiple judges applauded the strong sense of composition and typography in Lilah’s design.

James states, “It recalls one of the most famous Constructivists (Rodchenko!) and OTTO is a great guiding light.”

Ella concurred, adding, “I really like this one for a lot of reasons: It’s strong from a composition/design sense, and I thought the lettering coming from the lighthouse was really cool and creative. It also continues the ‘classic Maine things’ theme.”

Lilah wins a pizza party, a $25 OTTO gift card, an OTTO t-shirt and hat, and a prize pack from Artist & Craftsman Supply! Nice job, Lilah!

It is worth pointing out — if you didn’t notice, ALL THREE WINNERS came from KING MIDDLE SCHOOL! Lest anyone shout “Collusion!” we must point out that, along with a few other schools, King rose to the challenge, with entire classrooms engaging in the contest, resulting in relatively high number of entries. We also believe that King’s ‘hat trick’ here speaks to the school’s uniqueness and its national reputation as a pioneer in education. Great job, King!

HONORABLE MENTIONS
We can’t express how much we truly loved each and every one of the wonderful designs that were submitted.  Our judges and our customers agree. We wanted to highlight a few more finalists that caught the eye of our judges.

Jeremy G
Green Acres Elementary School
North Haven, CT
JeremyGScott Nash: “When judging, I view each of the designs multiple times. This one made me chuckle each time. Jeremy’s design is exuberant, expressive, and unusually well-composed. It also makes full use of four colors by overlapping red and yellow to create a vibrant inferno which by all rights should be hell for a lobster chef, but appears instead to be a sort of pizza paradise.”

Martin Sorger, MA-based veteran designer and creative strategist, echoed Nash’s sentiments: “It’s vibrant and fun. The little lobster chef is a great character. Puts a smile on your face.”

Hannah S
King Middle School
Portland, ME

Hannah_S

Clif Stoltze: “Simple idea, very well executed.”

Martin Sorger applauded Hannah’s “beautifully stylized water and clouds.”

 

 

 

 

Anavi C
Wells Junior High School
Wells, ME

AnaviCurtiss-8thgrade-WellsJuniorHigh-Maine

Martin Sorger: “Bold and simple, but playful and eye-catching.”

 

 

 

 

 

Hazel J
King Middle School
Portland, ME

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James Spindler: “I love the very imaginative use of an iconic Maine lobster trap. It’s a great narrative — very fun!”

 

 

 

 

Cecelia Lewen
Gorham Arts Alliance
Gorham, ME
CeceliaScott Nash: “This design expresses the pure joy (and for some, the nostalgia) we share for pizza.”

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to all our talented artists and designers — winners, honorable mentions, finalists, and entrants! Each of you have done a wonderful job connecting and communicating with your communities through art and design. Through your art, you brought smiles to the faces of thousands from all over the world who followed and voted in the preliminary round of the contests. Your designs embodied the joys of food, the communal nature of pizza, the spirit of OTTO, and the unique beauty of New England.

We are confident that these artists will continue to make vital artistic contributions to their communities (and the world) for many years to come!