The New York Location of Iconic Portland Thai Franchise Pok Pok Is Closing

In a statement on his personal Facebook page, Pok Pok owner Andy Ricker detailed several reasons for the closure, including the upcoming departure of his general manager and declining profitability.

After six years, Portland restaurateur Andy Ricker is shuttering the New York location of his Pok Pok franchise, the New York Times first reported today.

In a statement on his personal Facebook page, Ricker detailed several reasons for the closure, including the upcoming departure of his general manager and declining profitability.  

"Our revenue is down year over year to the point where we will stop being profitable this fall," he wrote. "Pair these reasons with some common issues facing all restaurants (rising cost of labor, services, COGs and a very shallow labor pool) and our options to continue seem pretty limited."

Pok Pok opened in Brooklyn's Columbia Street Waterfront in 2012, six years after the original location on Southeast Division became one of Portland's most iconic food destinations. It is largely credited with introducing New York to the cuisine of Northern Thailand. The New York Times gave the restaurant two out of four stars, and business boomed enough that by 2013 Ricker opened a bar to accommodate waiting customers, as he did on Division Street.

Related: Andy Ricker takes Pok Pok to New York. Do his wings have a prayer?

But Ricker writes that the Columbia Street neighborhood never took off as a major hub, "despite years of positive predictions, wishes and finger crossing." (His smaller noodle-focused restaurant, Pok Pok Phat Thai, located in the same area, closed in 2016.) With his lease up for renewal, Ricker decided that, given the restaurant's "financial trajectory," it would be "unwise" to resign.

Ricker also wrote that, at age 55, he is looking to spend more time in Chiang Mai, Thailand, "where I have a home, a partner, four cats and a more normal life than anywhere else."

The closure comes a little over a year after Pok Pok's Los Angeles location closed after two years in business. But there are still six locations in Portland. And later this summer, Pok Pok, along with Portland sandwich shop Lardo, will open inside the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas strip.

Pok Pok Ny's last day of operation is Sept. 2.

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