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A Guide to Andy Ricker's Thoughts on PDX vs. NYC

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Since opening two restaurants in New York City — the Lower East Side's Pok Pok Wing and Brooklyn's Pok Pok NyAndy Ricker has been called upon by New York (and national) media as the expert witness in the differences between Portland and New York. But at least he keeps his answers fresh? Here, a collection of each time Ricker's been posed the PDX vs. NYC question — and, depending on the interview, how Portland stacks up in comparison:

As Cheaper Hen-Eaters: In his most recent interview with Bloomberg critic Ryan Sutton, Ricker explains the price differences in the cities, particularly why he uses $20 Label Rouge chickens in New York versus $12.50 whole game hens in PDX. "Price plays a part in the separate markets. The Label Rouge hens are delicious, better than the game hens but Portland Punters would never pay the price, despite lip service about sourcing and sustainability. You guys [New Yorkers] are more sophisticated and richer." [The Price Hike]

As Less PR-Bullshitty, But Also Less Diverse: In an early interview with Eater NY, Ricker explains his impression of New York as a dining city: "There's lots of different segments here. If you're talking about the world of chefs and PR and all that kind of shit, it's pretty much what it appears to be from the outside. I think it's an incredibly diverse place. There's a whole bunch of different worlds going on here." [-ENY-]

As More Accessible to Entrepreneurs. And Stoners: To hipster mag Paper, Ricker says: "There's room to do your thing in Portland. It's possible because you're not facing rents that are astronomical. A lot of restaurants would be up shit's creek if they had to survive here. It's a game here; much more difficult. Not that it's easy anywhere, but here you've got to work really hard.... In Portland you can pay $200 for rent, work as a barista and smoke pot and go to rock shows every night. You can't do that here — unless you're a trust funder." [Paper]

As, Well, Smaller. In Size: In an interview with Serious Eats, Ricker explains the reason for expansion to NYC of all places: "Pok Pok is in a small market in Portland. There's only so much you can expand doing this before you start cannibalizing yourself. I have a lot of good people working for me, and you can't hold onto them forever. Expansion is one way of giving people an opportunity to step up. Also I like it here and I want an excuse to be here more often... For better or for worse New York City is the culinary center of the universe and what we're doing specifically isn't really happening here." [Serious Eats]

As Being Cool Way Before Portlandia: In an interview with Capital New York, a friendly reminder that Portland was kind of the shit before New Yorkers "recently discovered" it: "I think there's been a certain fascination in New York with Portland over the years. It's not a new thing. I've been working restaurants in Portland 20 years, and I remember W magazine [and] Esquire doing stories on Portland in the mid-'90s." [Capital New York]

And as far as how we're exactly the same?: In an interview with WWeek, Ricker says of his expansion: "Is there a chance I could get my ass handed to me? Of course. New York loves to love and they love to hate." Which sounds kinda familiar, come to think of it.
· All Previous Andy Ricker Coverage [Eater PDX]

Image of Andy Ricker by Daniel Kreiger/ENY

Pok Pok

3226 Southeast Division Street, , OR 97202 (503) 232-1387 Visit Website

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