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…
Another hipster restaurant gentrifying Chinatown. No thanks.
Take a good look at Chinatown right now and you will see it is resisting gentrification beautifully. Also, you’re using the word “hipster” as if the laziest of insults still means something.
Hell yeah. This looks amazing. Love the look and concept. I’d crush some Periyaki chicken and a clever drink then I’d smoke a dart or two.
Cool, another unaffordable gimmicky-restaurant replacing some of the only affordable food in the neighbourhood. Keep up the gentrification and ongoing food dessert for people that live in neighbourhood! We love to see restaurants like this come into our community – call the police on homeless people and have no disregard for helping us 🙂
It would really be fantastic if you could credit the interior designer on this project – this is their work.
Dont bother with nonsense, Just serve OKONOMIYAKI- The only Japanese pizza to eat after drinking. Kewpie Mayonaise!!!
In case you haven’t noticed, poor Chinatown has become a toilet for those living nearby. A few brave entreprenuers have opened up shop (ie: Chinatown BBQ, Juke, Butcher Ramen, etc) but it’s still a dump. I applaud anyone attempting a new business in this neighboorhood. It’s not “gentrification” – it’s cleaning up.
People use the word gentrification and don’t understand what that actually means, gentrification took place in Chinatown as soon as the unaffordable housing started to be built and banks and corporations took over some of the larger leases. Don’t blame a couple of young local guys for the economic discrepancies and displacement popping up in Chinatown; these fellas are independent, local business owners and they should be supported – not blamed for the consequences of global capitalism in Chinatown. Throw your darts at the right boards folks. Go protest outside of some real estate developers offices, HSBC, Starbucks etc., who started this whole process years ago, let’s support our local businesses.
Anything to help clean up the DUMP that is the downtown east side and chinatown, we should all be for. Screw your “gentrification is bad” BS, we don’t want to hear it.
Super sad about this. I grew up with Mitzie’s, knew the owners, such a nice family.