No matter how you slice it, Pizzario is one stop downtown that you can't pass up.

Editor's Note: This story first appeared in our Hillsboro's Best special section. Every year, the Tribune solicits feedback from the public for our annual Hillsboro's Best awards.

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Pizzario features not only hot pizza, but also plenty of live entertainment, with jazz, folk and blues several nights a week, as well as an open mic night.Palettes of sound and taste collide in the colorful atmosphere of Pizzario, Hillsboro's downtown all-ages pizza joint, bar, and music venue.

"I've always known all along when I opened up a restaurant or a bar that there was going to be music," said owner Michaelo Soto. Pizzario offers live music seven nights a week.

Soto has been in the restaurant business for most of his life. In his 40-year career he's helped open 26 restaurants, which he says has given him a keen eye for the business and what will work and what won't.

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Pizzario, 337 E Main St.

Summer Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"Being a resident of downtown Hillsboro I really wanted to be part of the community and to bring my expertise to that community -- to open up a restaurant right here in the heart of it," said Soto.

A musician since the fifth grade, the restaurateur said he wanted to give Hillsboro's nightlife a spark of excitement, too. So he opened Pizzario — which translates into "pizza river" — in April 2015, giving Hillsboro residents a place to slow down, relax, and enjoy a bite with some entertainment.

"It definitely brings a lot of liveliness to downtown, we see a lot of happy people leaving here," said Soto.

Soto sees pizza as a family food. His pizza is extra-special, he said, because he uses an imported, delicate double-zero flour for the crust that creates a pizza light on the stomach. The restaurant cooks primarily with their brick-fire oven, fire-roasting everything inside from fresh vegetable pizza toppings, house-made fennel sausage and roasted chicken breast, and, of course, pizzas.

There's also a full bar and taps of rotating microbrews, and plenty of Oregon wines to choose from.

"It's a place where family and friends can gather in our busy lives," said Soto. "Everybody is going so fast all the time. When you slow down this a great place to meet."

Soto himself is taking a break from the world of fast-paced corporate restaurants. On Sunday nights he can be found in Pizzario, he hosts an open mic open to anyone. His own music project with his son Skyler Soto and friend Gayle Ritt, a band called 23 Window, occasionally plays Pizzario.

"It's been a good vibe, it's been a great, positive energy. It just feels good," said Soto. "Everybody is welcome."

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