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Pizzaoki – Steve Aoki’s New Pizza Chain

With “Papa” John Schnatter going through a months-long meltdown and his eponymous company suffering the consequences, there appears to be an opening for a new player in the celebrity-fronted pizza-delivery market. Enter Pizzaoki, a new business co-founded by famous disc jockey Steve Aoki, who happens to be the fourth-highest-paid DJ on Earth. Pizzaoki launched in Los Angeles, and, according to Forbes, it is poised for major expansion across the country, and, maybe someday, the world. Here are some questions you may have about the burgeoning celebrity-owned pizza delivery operation, plus all the answers.

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Who is Steve Aoki, exactly?

As previously mentioned, the 40-year-old is an extremely successful DJ. Aoki’s accolades include Best Set of the Season at the 2007 DJ Awards and Best Mix Album of the Year at the 2008 Billboard Awards. He’s been nominated for one Grammy, which he lost out on to Skrillex in 2013. Aoki has also appeared in several television episodes and movies, typically playing himself, as a famous person often does in such cameos.

Also, his late father, Rocky, founded the ubiquitous Japanese steakhouse chain Benihana, which is so revered it was the setting for the greatest Christmas episode in the history of the American Office. One might not think a DJ has the required skills to run restaurants, but as he tells Forbes, Aoki already counts himself as an investor in five other restaurants, including a partnership with his brother in Bluetree Cafe, which boasts three locations in Hawai’i. He has the business in his genes.

What’s the Pizzaoki business model?

It actually has pretty low overhead. Since coming online July 9, the restaurant has operated out of Los Angeles’s Cloud Kitchens, which provides cooking space for multiple LA restaurants. It’s delivery only, with pies arriving at customers’ doors via third-party apps such as Postmates and UberEats. As a DJ, Aoki is no stranger to late hours, and Pizzaoki is appropriately open late: Sunday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Of all Aoki’s restaurant investments, this is his first foray into the delivery-only sector.

Aoki is attempting to forge ahead where others have failed. The delivery-only model for restaurants has been pegged as The Next Big Thing in recent years, partly due to the success of third-party restaurant-delivery startups. However, execution of the idea may be more difficult than conception. In May 2017, New York City-based delivery-only establishment Maple, which counted celebrity chef David Chang as an investor, shut down. Less than a year later, Chang’s own delivery-only spot, Ando, followed suit. Last year in San Francisco, Young Fava’s delivery-only experiment lasted less than two months. This came on the heels of another Fog City delivery-only business, Sprig, going under.

So, Aoki may be facing a tougher path to delivery-only glory than he realizes, but, in his favor, chain pizza has been perceived by Americans as a delivery-only food for decades.

Pizzaoki serves eight pizzas, with names that reference Aoki and his music career, and ingredients that reference weed.

What’s on the menu?

Pizzaoki serves eight pizzas, with names that reference Aoki and his music career, and ingredients that reference weed — the base of each pie is his “lit herb-infused” dough. The sauce is his purportedly his mother’s homemade recipe. The most elaborate pizza is Aoki’s take on the supreme. Officially known at his restaurant as “mayhem” — that’s the name of a Steve Aoki song, by the way — it’s topped with mozzarella cheeses, sliced pepperoni, ground sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, black olives, red onions, sweet onions, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers. Purists will be disappointed to learn there is a pineapple pizza, the “turbulence,” which also comes with mozzarella cheese, sliced pepperoni, and homemade garlic ranch sauce. No doubt, Guy Fieri will be stopping by to proclaim this creation as “totally out of bounds” in the near future.

Does Pizzaoki have any celebrity endorsements?

Endorsements include the infamous Tommy Chong!

What do the customers think of Pizzaoki?

So far, the business is receiving generally positive reviews. “I love the music, but the pizza is AMAZING!” one satisfied customer writes on Facebook, where Pizzaoki has garnered 4.3 out of five stars. Yelpers have been a little more critical, doling out a 3.5-star rating. “It was good the next day when I ate a cold slice, like a heathen, after coming home through LA traffic,” opines one diner. “It was even a decent price. But, in the end, this was pizza.”

Are there haters?

Of course there are haters. Nobody wants to believe in a DJ-turned-pizza entrepreneur. “I love Steve Aoki but even he would be disappointed in what his pizza chefs are sending out to people,” says a less-than-enthused Yelper. Nevertheless, Aoki is undeterred.

“We faced the skepticism issue from the start, and it was one of the first conversations that we had,” he tells Forbes. “I already faced skepticism as an artist coming out of the gate. Of course, I still have the haters out there that want to bring me down on just the music side. I remember when I got my first Grammy nomination with my first album, and some of the music community were skeptical of a DJ coming into that space. The only way to battle it is by turning out quality content, quality service.”

What is Pizzaoki’s expansion plan?

Aoki and his business partner, Lawrence Vavra, are looking to ride the momentum that has come from their buzzy introduction in Los Angeles. The two reportedly want to open as many as seven more locations around LA and Southern California before the end of this year. Next year, they’ll add a San Diego establishment; head north to set up shop in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley; and look beyond the Golden State to markets in Boston, Chicago, Miami, and New York City, totaling 15 to 20 locations around the country, by Vavra’s estimates.

What’s more, Aoki is already thinking about expanding across the Atlantic Ocean.

“Well, it’s kind of funny because I’ve been touring all summer and Pizzaoki is doing incredible, incredible numbers and getting an incredible response in LA, and all the interviews that I have been doing here in Europe and every single journalist wants to know when we’re bringing Pizzaoki to their country,” he tells Forbes. “When LV and I first sat down, we decided to conquer LA first then California and then the United States, that was the plan, but now the world is asking for it too. It’s so exciting to think I could bring Pizzaoki to Germany, Spain, France, and Italy, I mean, that’s the home of Pizza so who knows where we’ll end up going.”

LiFE Nightclub at SLS Announces 2015 DJ Residencies

LiFE Nightclub revealed today the star studded DJ residents that will be performing at the SLS Las Vegas’s hottest new club this year.

This year, Sin City party revelers can expect to see hot electronic dance music DJs including 3LAU, Borgore, Danny Avila, EDX, Erick Morillo, Fedde le Grand, Ferry Corsten, Gareth Emery, Markus Schulz, Michael Woods, Pete Tong, Thomas Gold, Stafford Brothers, and and dozens more who will bring their innovative residencies to the vibrant nightspot.

“At LiFE, we believe the people are the true essence of the party, so when it comes to pleasing our guests, we are constantly thinking about what they want to see and hear,” said Costas Charalambous, president of SBE nightlife. “This year’s lineup attests to that belief. Not only are we bringing some of the biggest names in the music industry to our stage, but we are also exploring new talent to deliver some of the best emerging artists of 2015.”

Erick Morillo, who kicked off the nightclub’s grand opening party in August, will be back for another year. As one of the most in-demand and recognizable DJs in the EDM circuit, Morillo has remixed tracks for Whitney Houston, Basement Jaxx, Macy Gray and countless others.

Steve Angello will also be returning in 2015 with his art-driven Reflections residency, which was highly successful when it debuted last fall, featuring cutting edge production and exclusive music, set within an iconic atmosphere.

LiFE is one of the newest nightclubs on the Strip, boasting 60-foot ceilings, three full-service bars, 70 VIP tables, mesmerizing performers and aerialists, as well as an open-air rooftop pool. It’s open Friday through Sunday nights from 10:30 PM until 4 AM.

2014 Las Vegas DJ Residencies

Find out where your favorite DJs are spinning in Las Vegas for the 2014 season:

Click here for 2015’s DJ Residency Lineup.

Artist Nightclub Dayclub
12th Planet Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
3LAU Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
A-Trak Light Daylight Beach Club
Above & Beyond Hakkasan Wet Republic
Adrian Lux Encore Beach Club
Adventure Club Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Alesso Light Daylight Beach Club
Afrojack Hakkasan Wet Republic
Armin van Buuren Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Arty Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Avicii XS Encore Beach Club
Axwell Light Daylight Beach Club
Baauer Light Daylight Beach Club
Benny Benassi Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Bingo Players Hakkasan Wet Republic
Borgeous Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Borgore Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Calvin Harris Hakkasan Wet Republic
Carl Cox Light Daylight Beach Club
Carnage Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Cash Cash Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Cazzette XS
Cedric Gervais Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Chuckie Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Clockwork Light Daylight Beach Club
Dada Life Hakkasan Wet Republic
Danny Avila Hakkasan Wet Republic
Dash Berlin Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
David Guetta XS Encore Beach Club
Deadmau5 XS Encore Beach Club
Deep Dish Hakkasan Wet Republic
Deniz Koyu Surrender Encore Beach Club
Deorro Encore Beach Club
Dillon Francis Surrender
Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Light Daylight Beach Club
Diplo Surrender Encore Beach Club
DJ Irie Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
DJ Shift Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
DJ Snake Surrender
DVBBS Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Dyro Light Daylight Beach Club
Dzeko & Torres Hakkasan Wet Republic
EC Twins Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Eric Prydz Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Eva Shaw Hakkasan Wet Republic
Fedde Le Grand XS Encore Beach Club
Ferry Corsten Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Fergie (DJ) Hakkasan Wet Republic
Gareth Emery Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
gLAdiator Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Grandtheft Surrender
GTA Light Daylight Beach Club
Hardwell Hakkasan Wet Republic
Heroes x Villains XS
Hook N Sling Light Daylight Beach Club
Ingrosso Light Daylight Beach Club
Kap Slap Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Kaskade Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Kennedy Jones Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Krewella Light Daylight Beach Club
Laidback Luke Light Daylight Beach Club
Lucky Date Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Surrender
Markus Schulz Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Martin Solveig Surrender
Madeon Surrender Encore Beach Club
Max Vangeli Surrender
Major Lazer Surrender Encore Beach Club
Martin Garrix Hakkasan Wet Republic
Michael Woods Hakkasan Wet Republic
Moby Hakkasan
Morgan Page Surrender Encore Beach Club
Nervo Hakkasan Wet Republic
Nicky Romero Light Daylight Beach Club
Paper Diamond Surrender
Paul Oakenfold Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Porter Robinson Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Quintino Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
R3hab Hakkasan Wet Republic
Redfoo of LMFAO Encore Beach Club
RL Grime XS, Surrender
Sander van Doorn Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Showtek Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Sidney Samson Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Skrillex XS, Light Encore Beach Club
Stafford Brothers Light Daylight Beach Club
Starkillers Drai’s Nightclub Drai’s Beach Club
Steve Angello XS Encore Beach Club
Steve Aoki Hakkasan Wet Republic
Sultan & Ned Shepard Light Daylight Beach Club
Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano Hakkasan Wet Republic
The Chainsmokers Hakkasan Wet Republic
Tiesto Hakkasan Wet Republic
TJR Surrender
Tritonal Marquee Nightclub Marquee Dayclub
Tommy Trash XS Encore Beach Club
W&W Hakkasan Wet Republic
Will Sparks XS
Wolfgang Gartner XS
Zedd XS Encore Beach Club