Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Portland restaurateur Andy Ricker exported his popular Pok Pok eatery to New York.
Seven years ago, Ricker opened his first Pok Pok in a wooden shack on Portland’s Southeast Division Street, with $60 left in his bank account. Nine months ago, he won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northwest Award in what amounts to the Oscars of food. He has opened or co-opened five restaurants in Portland, with a sixth on the way, because he’s the white guy who serves the obscure, difficult Northern Thai dishes that native Thai cooks don’t dare try on Americans.
Now Ricker is leveraging the whole thing—using $300,000 of his own money and small-business loans—in his bid to become a major player in the nation’s toughest culinary scene.
“The time is now to pull the trigger, if you’re going to pull the trigger,” Ricker says. “Is there a chance I could get my ass handed to me? Of course. New York loves to love and they love to hate.”
Read more at Willamette Week.