Email blast from Ricker tries to address the question that keeps coming up – how is he possibly going to keep the quality when he’s spread so thin.
A lot of news to put out there, all of it good luckily.
Pok Pok is going to New York City! We have made deals on two separate restaurant spaces, both due to open somewhere around the new year if all goes well:
First is a very small space on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, at 137 Rivington Street, where a new concept will open featuring a familiar Pok Pok staple, Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. This will be called Pok Pok Wing. The word “wing” in Thai means to run, or to go quickly. In English, it ain’t no thing but a chicken wing. Wing will also have papaya salad made to order on the menu and sticky rice as well as the Som drinking vinegars. It’s in a great neighborhood, very vibrant and busy with restaurants, galleries, bars, cafes, retail and fashion as well as a large diverse population of residents out on the streets at all times of the day and night.
Second will be a full service restaurant called Pok Pok Ny in Brooklyn at 127 Columbia Street in the Columbia Waterfront district near Red Hook and Cobble Hill. This is another great neighborhood, quiet and full of families, parks, low key businesses with a view of the Manhattan skyline across the water. Pok Pok Ny has a tiny dining room and a big outdoor seating area, kind of like Pok Pok PDX. In Thai language “Ny” or “nai” means “in”, context being a phrase “nai meuang” or “in the city”. We dropped the “meuang” for reasons of simplicity and pronunciation. The NY reference in English should be obvious.
In Portland, we are also expanding in the near future. We have acquired the lease on Kappaya Restaurant space after purchasing the business from Teri and Nori and are in the midst of refurbishing the kitchen and remodeling the interior and exterior. This space will act as headquarters for Som drinking vinegars as well as an eventual “raan khao kaeng” or curry on rice shop; no opening date as of yet.
Needless to say all this activity, plus the looming due date for the Pok Pok cookbook, has me running. To that end I have decided to minimize my role as owner/operator at Ping Restaurant to relieve some of the pressure. For the foreseeable future I will remain as executive chef and advisor, but the day to day operations and future direction of Ping will fall into the hands of my partners Kurt Huffman and John & Janet Jay. I remain dedicated to the continued success and growth of Ping-the-restaurant (and the Portland Chinatown neighborhood), but the gravity of all things Pok Pok is pulling me out of orbit with the minutiae of operating Ping-the-business. In short, nothing changes at Ping, I just won’t be as intimately involved day-to-day. We have an excellent management team and staff in place that does all the heavy lifting already, so I am confident in the continued consistency of food and service going forward.
Hope this finds you all well and ready for the change in seasons.