Pepsi Warns It’s Opening a Kola-Themed NYC Restaurant

You might not even be able to get one of these.
You might not even be able to get one of these. Photo: Pepsi

Pepsi has its first-ever restaurant and bar in the works, the Times reports, in a spot in the Meatpacking District. “This isn’t a pop-up,” a marketing exec warns the paper. “This is something much bigger than that.” Called Kola House, after the nut used in sodas, it’s being billed as a “significant undertaking” and a “premium experience.” Mercifully, it will be mostly devoid of Pepsi logos and, strangely, even products, but expect lots and lots of kola, its official menu theme. (Just wait for the corn powder–maltodextrin theme once PepsiCo’s unveils the first Fritos restaurant.) There will also be “space for live entertainment.”

Details are still being worked out, but the company says it’s aiming for a spring opening date, ostensibly with some big(gish)-name chef at the helm. Pepsi already brags it’s snagged mixologist Alex Ott, a cocktail-scene wunderkind of sorts, who asks that you call him an “alchemist.” There will also be a smaller Kola House in San Francisco during the Super Bowl that is a pop-up. Examples of its dishes include kola Wagyu sliders, kola truffle-oil tartare, a vodka drink with kola bitters. Whatever the permanent location offers, it’s sure to be “trendy.”

Hilariously, the Times signs off with this major burn: “The danger for a big, mainstream brand like Pepsi, however, is that it will look more like a dad at a high school party than a member of the cool kids club.”