If you make it in New York, they say, you can make it anywhere.
The obvious corollary is that not everyone can.
Brooklyn community newspaper The Greenpoint Post has reported that Portland-based Sizzle Pie closed its Brooklyn locations yesterday. Both were in recently trendy neighborhoods, Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
Sizzle Pie joins Bunk and Pok Pok in seeing its ambitious plans for Big Apple spots go awry. Tommy Habetz's Bunk sandwiches made it just over a year in Williamsburg. Pok Pok Ny is still going strong in Brooklyn, but the Manhattan location is closed and Ricker's plans for a chain of wing spots never materialized. Pok Pok also opened and closed in Los Angeles, home to the nation's largest Thai population—a development that was the subject of some soul-searching on both sides. (Seemingly, New Yorkers have just gone about their business.)
The metal-themed Sizzle Pie's motto is "Death to False Pizza" and it's known for its vegan ranch dressing and for pizzas named with puns from notable heavy metal bands of the 1980s.
"Nothing [back east] was really doing anything like were doing, so we thought we could resonate really well out there," co-owner Matt Jacobson told the Portland edition of the Eater food blog last year.
Gothamist warmly quoted Sizzle Pie co-owner Mikey McKennedy as saying his pies are modeled on Brooklyn, but with "crazy shit" for toppings.
"We haven't had any discussions like, "Okay, what're we gonna do to impress New York?' We know our food is good," McKennedy told Gothamist. "We are going to be very humble and just try to appreciate the fact that we're in this amazing neighborhood and that's the thing. We're gonna go in here, do what we do, and just kinda be quiet and try not to come across like assholes."
Being quiet and not coming across like assholes is a great way to make it in a place like Portland. But New York is, of course, a different kind of town. I was there for the first time in a decade over the summer and was gobsmacked by the ridiculously good, yet cheap, food. Stumptown made it. Salt & Straw will make it. But, personally, I wouldn't want to show up there slinging pizza or sandwiches. I have no idea how places there can do what they do at the price they do it—it's truly amazing.
Sizzle Pie's most recent venture is Hollywood.
The Hollywood Theatre, that is. That new location is already open.