Andy Ricker, the chef who has built a growing collection of innovative Thai restaurants in Portland, Ore., and New York, is bringing a Pok Pok location to Los Angeles. And not just one, but two restaurants: Pok Pok LA and a new branch of Pok Pok Phat Thai.
Both will be in Chinatown. Pok Pok LA, the Los Angeles outpost of the Portland original that Ricker opened in 2005, will be located in the former Fu Ling space in the Mandarin Plaza at 970 Broadway. And Pok Pok Phat Thai, the pad Thai noodle shop that debuted in New York, will open at Far East Plaza at 727 Broadway.
"Pok Pok is indeed coming to L.A.," Ricker said. "I have been spending a lot of time in Chinatown lately and am very taken with the vibe down there, and am very excited to be part of what I hope becomes a bit of a blossoming of the area. I will be living in Chinatown as well; full commitment."
A two-floor Pok Pok LA will have a bar and lounge downstairs, a main dining room upstairs (also with a bar) and courtyard seating.
"The menu will be very similar to that of Pok Pok PDX, with many of the dishes served at Whiskey Soda Lounge making up the bar menu," Ricker said. He's hoping to open in the spring of next year.
Ricker said he also is signing a lease for a space at the Far East Plaza to open Pok Pok Phat Thai, which could open this fall, as soon as late November "if all goes well." It joins Roy Choi's Chego and Scoops ice cream shop in the same shopping center.
He noted that George Yu, executive director of the Chinatown Business Improvement District, "has been instrumental in making this deal happen" at Far East Plaza. "Would not have happened without him!"
"I met Andy in late March from Roy Choi," Yu said, "and in Roy's words, this is a 'game changer' to have a restaurant of Pok Pok's caliber in Chinatown."
Pok Pok LA, Mandarin Plaza, 727 Broadway, Los Angeles; Pok Pok Phat Thai, 970 Broadway, Los Angeles; www.pokpok.com.