What’s to Love: If you’re looking for a place to enjoy pizza, beer, and family-friendly music, you cannot beat Mississippi Pizza Pub (MPP). I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get MPP on my site. I have a longtime relationship with this flagship business located on North Mississippi Avenue. It was the first venue I ever played in Portland, which was way back in 2001. At that time, my band was called “Vince Schreck & The Expendables.” Things have changed so much in the past 14 years, but what continually shines through with the MPP is their commitment to live music.
When my band first played back in 2001, the MPP had just opened, and they were one of just a few businesses on Mississippi Avenue. Walking the district now, it’s hard to believe all the change that has occurred in a relatively short time period. While the growth of the area is controversial, most people will agree that the MPP has stayed true to its guiding principles, which are stated clearly on their website.
“In the late nineties, when Mississippi Avenue was home to just a handful of struggling businesses, visionary entrepreneurs Philip and Stephanie Stanton saw the potential few others could. They had an idea for a neighborhood pizza pub that would be based on three fundamental guiding principles: great pizza, family friendly live music and entertainment, and above all,serving the local community.”
I can’t count the number of times I’ve played the MPP over the past 14 years, but it’s A LOT! They have dedicated much of their calendar to “family-friendly” musical acts. Some of these acts have been playing the venue as long as my band The Toy Trains. If you browse their calendar, you’ll notice kid-friendly shows on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays! I personally have seen many of these acts, and several have played with my band The Toy Trains. Just look at this awesome line-up for September!
- Mr. Ben (Mondays @ 5PM)
- The Alphabeticians (Saturday the 27th @ 4PM)
- Mo Phillips (Thursday the 11th @ 6PM)
- Lorna Miller Kid’s Jamboree (Saturday the 13th @ 4PM)
- Tallulah’s Daddy (Saturday the 6th @ 4PM)
- Red Yarn Kids’ Show (Thursdays @ 5PM)
- The Toy Trains (THIS SATURDAY the 20th @ 4PM)
While I can’t speak for all the bands, I will say this lineup offers a great deal of variety and options for your family. I have heard all of these acts, and I certainly would recommend any of them for an entertaining show. As you can see, all the times are early enough so you won’t have to worry about bumping into bedtime.
My band The Toy Trains plays this Saturday, September 20th at 4PM. We will be playing EVERY 3RD SATURDAY throughout the entire school year. We are a 6-piece band featuring mandolin, electric and acoustic guitars, drums, stand-up bass, and violin. During our set, we rip through roughly thirteen songs that feature various musical styles, originals, and fun cover songs. Please come out and see us, as well as all the other great acts that perform at the MPP. Support local music!
Caveats: If it gets crowded, it can be hard to find a seat. My recommendation is to ask to join another family at a table, if there are open seats. My only other thing to watch out for here is parking. Parking on Mississippi Avenue is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. When you find an open spot, this wave of euphoria will come over you, kind of like you just won the lottery. Plan on walking it a ways to the venue.
Website: The Mississippi Pizza Pub
Distance from Portland: It’s in North Portland, here is a Google Map of the location.
Recommended Ages: For most of the kid-friendly acts, I would say up to 10 years is a reasonable age, especially if you have younger kids too. It’s fine to take babies and young toddlers to the family-friendly shows. However, make sure to get there early, so you can get a table in the back section where it’s not as loud.
Parental Stress Factor: Pretty low! This is such a great place for parents and families to hang out! It’s what keeps me coming back year after year with my own band. I love to see the parents kicking back with a beer and some pizza, while their kids just dance and move around the place. The only time it’s stressful is when it gets super busy. It’s not a huge place, and the seating can fill-up. Make sure to get there early to avoid this problem.
Family Fun Factor: Great times! If your family loves music, this is THE place to check-out family-friendly acts.
Weather Considerations: The music continues year round…rain or shine! Personally, I love playing during the school year when everyone kind of hunkers down and relaxes while their children listen to the tunes.
Not into music? The MPP offers other family-friendly options including birthday parties, trivia games, and board games. There is also one of my favorite bars in the back of MPP called the “Atlantis Lounge.” It’s a very cozy and comfortable space. It’s almost like you’re entering a top-secret area when you go back there. Check it out!
Family Tips: My advice to families is to head into the main music room, grab your family a seat, while another adult in your party places your food order. You have to order at the counter where you enter the MPP. Certainly, strollers, sippy cups, spills, bumping into your neighbor, etc…are all part of the experience!
Again, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting to the MPP a bit early for a show. If you want to relax a bit and not have the music as loud, sit in the back section, which is very comfortable. Don’t be afraid to get up and dance or come up to the front near the stage. This is a very friendly venue where parents are helping each other out.
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