PORTLAND, Ore — One of Portland's celebrated chefs is shutting down his restaurant permanently after keeping it closed for seven months during the pandemic.
Pok Pok owner Andy Ricker said on Instagram that he would not reopen his Pok Pok locations. He closed the business out of safety concerns in the early weeks after the first cases of the coronavirus were reported in the state and shuttered four of six locations in June. Friday he announced he was exiting the restaurant business in Portland permanently. He detailed his decision in a long farewell message.
Over the years, Ricker has won James Beard Awards and built the Pok Pok into one of the city's top food destinations. But he wrote in the post that the business had struggled prior to the pandemic, and Covid had forced a decision that he had been building up to.
"But the truth of the matter is that for the last five years it has been a struggle for many reasons ... and the onset of global pandemic made it very clear that the business was not going to be able to survive the economic realities we are all facing," he wrote.
"I swore when Pok Pok opened that if it ever reached the point where it was all about profit and loss, I would shut it down and walk away. ... "So when Covid made it all about the bottom line that was my cue to pull the plug."
Ricker wrote that the restaurant locations have been leased or turned over to property owners, and his original restaurant on Division Street, opened in 2005, was for sale "lock, stock, and (literal) fish sauce barrel."
In addition to walking away from his Portland restaurants, Ricker wrote that he has relocated permanently to Thailand.
"So that's it: Pok Pok in Portland is no more, dunzo, kaput, pit moht laew; it is an ex-parrot," he wrote. "I know when I am licked. And I am licked."
The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.