meet the new boss
Hip Houston pizzeria rises with fresh return of familiar face
Ken Bridge is getting back into the pizza business. The veteran restaurateur (Ritual, Blackbird Izakaya, Lola) announced that he has reacquired a majority interest in Pink’s Pizza, the restaurant he founded and previously sold in 2016.
Terms of the detail were not disclosed, but Bridge tells CultureMap he paid a “premium” to purchase the company from Ian Vaughn, who opted to sell the restaurants to focus on his music and entertainment company Rock N Concepts, LLC.
“I enjoy everything I do, but Pink’s Pizza is my baby,” Bridge says. “It’s something I built. All these concepts are like kids. I think Pink’s Pizza is the Rice scholarship, never smoked pot, never stole my car, straight As, off to an Ivy League school. I think it’s a huge opportunity for me.”
Vaughn had been laying the groundwork to grow Pink’s to other Texas cities with an eventual goal of going national. Now, Bridge will lead those efforts, starting with between four and six new locations in the next year. Along with that process, the proprietor plans to upgrade the restaurant’s existing stores with new interior details and branding.
“There’s a lot I want to do, just put some TLC [into the existing locations],” Bridge says. “There’s an obvious opportunity to put some elbow grease and put it into position on a local level where customers deserve to have it.”
At the same time, Bridge has been developing Roovy, a smartphone-based point-of-sale system that’s designed to ease restaurant operations and speed customer ordering. Combined with growing Pink’s, that would seem like enough to keep anyone busy. Bridge acknowledges that his ongoing role with Delicious Concepts, the hospitality company he owns that operates bars and restaurants including Ritual, Shepherd Park Draught House, and Ready Room, is a bit uncertain.
“I don’t know yet. I’m deciding on that right now,” Bridge says. “It’s obvious that it’s a lot; even this single project is going to take a lot of bandwidth. I’m weighing options right now.”
Regardless of whether Bridge decides to stick with Delicious Concepts or move on, Pink's fans can be assured that its founder has come back. For his part, Bridge is excited about the restaurant's potential.
"I can’t pass this up," he says. "I just want to scale it the way it should be."