A variety of reasons — including decreased profitability, a desire to pare down, and an ending lease — have contributed to the imminent closing of influential Thai restaurant Pok Pok, owner and chef Andy Ricker says. The six-year-old Brooklyn restaurant will close on September 2, the Times reports.
“Our revenue is down year-over-year to the point where we will stop being profitable this fall,” Ricker wrote in a statement. Combined with a desire to pare down his life, “a very shallow labor pool,” the Columbia Street Waterfront neighborhood not taking off, and “astronomically higher” costs of opening elsewhere, it was enough to end Pok Pok’s time in New York.
Pok Pok opened in 2012 to much acclaim, scoring two stars from Eater’s Ryan Sutton and another two in the Times for its unabashedly spicy and funky Northern Thai flavors, especially in its popular fish sauce wings. It was instantly so busy that Ricker opened a bar nearby to handle the waiting crowds. He also moved his smaller noodle and wing shop to the street. But like Ricker said, the Columbia Street Waterfront has indeed failed to catch on, and he eventually closed the smaller shop and gave the bar space to celebrity chef Carla Hall — who also eventually closed there.
Since Pok Pok’s opening, the city’s Northern Thai food scene has significantly increased, with Uncle Boons, Somtum Der, Ugly Baby, and others growing in prominence. A Los Angeles location of Pok Pok also closed last year, but Ricker continues to run six restaurants in Portland. He also has another on the way in Las Vegas.