Nick Zukin — the man behind Old Town’s Mi Mero Mole, the casual taqueria with a serious agave collection — is opening a Mexican pizzeria, the Willamette Week first reported. Zapapizza, which borrows its name from Mexican left-wing militant group the Zapatistas, is influenced by Mexico City’s Pizza del Perro Negro. The restaurant will focus on thick-crust pies with toppings like cactus, pickled jalapeño, fried grasshopper, and mole sauce, with salads, wings, and spaghetti, both Italian and Mexican in style, rounding out the menu. Zapapizza will open sometime in September at 503 W Burnside Street, not far from Mi Mero Mole.
The restaurant has faced criticism since the announcement — while Zukin told the Willamette Week that he plans to donate 10 percent of the restaurant’s profits to charities “that serve the Mexican community in Portland and abroad,” some commenters on the original story have strong reservations about another white-owned Portland restaurant serving Mexican cuisine, with Maya Lovelace of Yonder accusing Zukin of “white savior bullshit”.
Others have expressed issue with the name being a pun on a prominent Mexican revolutionary’s name, and asked Zukin to change it. Zukin defended himself on the original article’s Facebook thread, writing “I’m not Mexican, though my friends in Mexico say I’m an honorary Chilango because I drive like one. And I hope to someday live permanently in Mexico.”