A new Japanese snack bar called Pizza Coming Soon is set to open next month in Chinatown’s old New Mitzie’s Restaurant location.
It’s been six years since artist Alex Usow and chef Keith Allison shuttered their Sea Monstr Sushi restaurant in Gastown (now The Birds and The Beets). They’ve now reunited, this time with bartender Dylan Jones, and are getting ready to open their new 100 seat eatery with a funny name at 179 East Pender Street.
‘Pizza Coming Soon’ has been in the works since March 1st, when the group took possession of the no-frills New Mitzie’s, where “Western & Chinese Cuisine” could be had on the cheap for many years. (Previously, it was just Mitzie’s, and before that it was an outpost of the Bino’s diner chain). It’s a weirdly sprawling 3,600 sqft address with a lot of kitchen space, so there’s plenty of potential for good times in the barely imaginable realm that lurks around the corner from Covid.
Like most other restaurant projects that were developing over this past winter and spring, the arrival of the coronavirus threw a spanner in the works of Pizza Coming Soon, but as you can see from the photos above and below, the aesthetic transformation of the space is now nearly complete. The branding is pretty tight, too…
New Mitzie’s regulars might disagree with me on this (and partner/contractor Michael Knittel might take offense), but Pizza Coming Soon is less a construction project and more a thorough deep clean, reupholster and technicolour dreamcoat. As someone who patronized the old place on occasion, the space is still defined by its big and round window facing the alley, its multitude of built-in mini-booths and its double-stair trip-ups — the striking difference now being its new Fisher-Price look, which Alex describes as “fun, psychedelic and three steps away from ugly.” It’s really rather out there. I love it.
But what excites me most about the new project is, of course, the prospect of interesting food and drink. From the way Keith describes the concept, it sounds like an idiosyncratic and irreverent izakaya of sorts. He says the menu will be fun and unpretentious, full of things like Periyaki Chicken (with peri-peri, natch), shaker fries served in bags, big blooming onions with yuzu dill mayo and classic buffalo wings. He describes it as “Japanese stoner food.” Will there be any pizza, as the name hopefully suggests? No, but it might be coming soon. Or not at all. It’s hard to say. Probably not. But maybe. I doubt it.
Dylan says his drinks list will be hi-ball focused and supported by a short selection of cocktails, beers, sake and natural wines. Opening day is now being set for early October. Take a sneak peek inside…