If you were wondering why you’re seeing thousands of fans lining up on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood this week, it’s because one of YouTube’s most popular creators, David Dobrik, has opened his first restaurant along the Sunset Strip, bringing his Doughbrik’s Pizza to—in a perfectly apropos bit of Gen-X-to-Millenial-transfer-of-power—the former location of a Starbucks.
Nov. 12 was opening day at the Slovak Internet personality’s pizza parlor and it saw 3,000 fans waiting in line to grab a slice and steal a glimpse of the influencer who has now amassed an audience of more than 62 million across online platforms. Dobrik found early success on the now-defunct Vine platform and shot to YouTube superstardom in 2015, posting pranks, jokes, adorable animals, and the like with his rotating cast of friends and celebrity guests.
“I was hoping like 100-200 people would show up. We multiplied that by 10, 15, 20. I’m blown away by the amount of people that came up,” Dobrik tells LAMag in his first interview since the restaurant’s grand opening. “I couldn’t believe it and not only came out to see it but waited in line, and waited all day, for those pizzas. Some people camped out three or four days before. It was the most mind-blowing experience—like, it’s pizza!”
Recently, other popular figures such as Kevin Hart and fellow YouTube sensation MrBeast have organized restaurant openings with super long lines. Dobrik says he talked to both men about their experiences.
“I just did Kevin Hart’s show, so we definitely talked about our restaurants. He’s supposed to come by in the next week or two, which should be really exciting. And I spoke to Jimmy [Donaldson], who is MrBeast, I remember, like, a year ago or something I was with him and he was telling me about all of his locations.
“What I think is so interesting about social media now is so many people are almost moving away from brand deals and creating their own brands. So you don’t see MrBeast doing as many brand deals for Wendy’s or McDonald’s—rather, he’s creating his own burger. We started working on this two and a half, three years ago, so it was never our intention to create a new business, we just wanted to have something fun. But it is very much a business. It is a cool thing to be able to have your own thing to promote, instead of somebody else’s brand.”
Dobrik and his co-founder, lifelong friend, collaborator, and entrepreneur Ilya Fedorovich, tell LAMag the restaurant sold nearly 2,000 pizza slices on opening day and moved thousands more since then. At $5 or $6 a slice, business sure is off to a great start.
“You can’t really find a pizza like ours anywhere in L.A.—the focaccia, doughy, circular type. I’ve never seen it and it is a Doughbrik’s original,” Fedorovich said.
Alan Jackson and Ian Olsen, the founders of the uber-popular Lemonade chain, are the pairs’ business partners in their pizza venture. They helped the two develop the recipe, which features high-gluten flour, a 72-hour fermentation process, and dough that features large air pockets. The cheesy crust includes asiago, Monterey Jack, cheddar, and parmesan blends.
Doughbrik’s is located right between Saddle Ranch Chop House and Carney’s Restaurant, a choice of location which was fully intentional.
“We were driving down Sunset and there was another location toward the Beverly Hills side, and when we were by the Hyde nightclub I was telling Ilya the best location ever would be right next to Saddle Ranch, where that Starbucks is. I was like, ‘How amazing would it be if it went out of business randomly?’ I’m not kidding you,” Dobrik said. “Those were the words that came out of my mouth and as we were driving by, [the Starbucks] just went out of business that week. We lost our minds. We hopped out of the car. It was a Sunday, so no one was picking up our calls, so we drove down to where the landlord was, knocking on doors there. We tried our very best and we luckily got it. So we held onto it for quite some time before the pizza was actually finalized and the place was launched.”
The pizza store is a quick walking distance from the popular Sunset Tower, Andaz, Mondrian and Pendry hotels. This may just prove serendipitous, too, as it relates to one of Dobrik’s other business dreams.
“I don’t know if it’s because I watched The Suite Life of Zack and Cody where they were in a hotel, I don’t know what it is but just having something where people can come and experience things. . .but one day I’d like to create bigger experiences for people that anybody can come and try and just love. So I think the hotel would be a crazy thing to shoot for down the line,” he said.
But for now, pizza is his focus.
“The goal is to open up in Chicago [his hometown] for sure. Then New York, Miami, San Diego, all those places, around the world, too. As of right now, the most important part is that we perfect this one store, and then from there, yeah, the goal is to have as many locations as we possibly can, that would be so exciting,” Dobrik said.
For those with a sweet tooth, slushies and ice cream are also on the menu. Dobrik has even brought the popular midwestern flavor, Blue Moon, to the West Coast. He describes it as “a sweeter vanilla ice cream. Some people even say it tastes like Fruity Pebbles.”
The Sunset Strip has been viewed by some as not as exciting as once was, but Dobrik said he is thrilled to be part of a new renaissance on the internationally known boulevard.
“I couldn’t imagine a better street in all of the U.S. or even in the world to be on. It’s the perfect street with the atmosphere and the vibe,” he said. “So not yet but in the next two weeks we’re going to be open till 3am after the clubs are released so you leave from the club and come get some food. I definitely want it to be a spot where people can come hang out after they’re done hanging out.”
Doughbrik’s Pizza is located at 8363 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.
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