Chef Shota Nakajima Opens Kobo Pizza inside Redhook Brewlab!

September 14, 2022


SEATTLE—Three-time James Beard Award semi-finalist, Chef Shota Nakajima will open a new pizza concept inside Redhook Brewlab on Saturday, September 10 that draws on his Osaka, Japan roots and is inspired by Detroit-style pizza. The rectangular pizzas will be cooked in steel pans with a thick, crispy crust and crispy cheese lattice around the sides.

“I was fascinated the first time I saw Detroit-style pizza. Having trained in Osaka, which is known as the “starch city” of Japan, I was inspired by things like Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki, which employ a starch base that is generally cooked over high heat in cast iron or black steel, with a signature crispy exterior and chewy interior. It was a natural step to utilize this similar ideology, and staying true to my culinary roots and training, employ the use of koji, nori, and mochiko flour to achieve both umami and a heavenly texture for our dough,” said Nakajima.

Kōbo’s pizza is driven by technique: the mochiko flour lends a chewy texture and slightly sweeter flavor to the dough, and a secret blend of cheeses achieves the signature crunchy-cheese lattice around the edge. The contrast in the chewy, fluffy pizza dough and crispy, crunchy edges gives a unique experience that makes every bite distinct. This textural contrast is a cornerstone of Japanese street food, and Kōbo draws heavily on inspiration from the cuisine of Osaka and beyond in creating this style of dough.

Nakajima’s karaage joint Taku has been neighbors with Redhook Brewlab since he opened two and a half years ago. In 2022 their friendly neighborhood relationship evolved into a conversation about partnering to merge Redhook Brewlab’s world-class beers with Nakajima’s creativity and talent in the kitchen. With yeast being the correlative piece between both beer and pizza it was the natural inspiration and a chance to bring something new and different to Seattle. Kōbo is the Japanese word for yeast.

“We could not be more stoked for our partnership with Chef Shota,” said Jason Dodson, Brand Manager at Redhook. “Anytime you get to work with a chef of his caliber it’s an incredible opportunity, but beyond that, I think there’s something particularly unique about the way Shota’s cooking will elevate the already incredible and complex beers that Joel Kosic is creating in our innovation brewery. We can’t wait for everyone to come try it, it’s going to be special.”

A beer collaboration is also in the works with Redhook and Nakajima: a Red Rice Koji Gose flavored with strawberry and raspberry called Rice for the Hill. It is light, refreshing, and finished with a touch of liquid koji, resulting in a super round flavor and umami finish. The process began using cooked, short grain rice from Japan that was inoculated with red rice koji spores. Once fully fermented, it was cooked into the beer, and after the first ferment was finished, they added liquid koji, strawberry puree, and raspberry puree.

Kōbo Menu 
The menu at Kōbo focuses on pizza and American pub food while drawing on Nakajima’s Japanese roots and training. A big vegetable eater, Nakajima wanted to focus on the many wonderful farms and producers nearby and create dishes that offer something for everyone; from those with gluten-sensitivity to those who follow a vegetable-centric diet, guests can also expect to see seasonal variety featured heavily on the menu. The result is a fun and playful menu that bridges bar food from America and Japan while keeping items approachable, fresh, dynamic, and driven by technique.

Menu is subject to change and a sampling includes:

Napa Cabbage Salad • Sesame Vinaigrette • Chili Crunch • All The Herbs
Shredded Kale Salad • Umami Caesar • Garlicky Crumbs • Sichuan Pepper
Salt & Pepper Broccoli Sweet Chili Sauce
Umami Tots Chili Jam Ketchup • Nostalgia
Corn Dog Nugs • lil’ smokies • hot mustard aioli • cabbage chow chow
Pretzel Bites • miso beer cheese • flakey salt

Thick crust, square cut Detroit-style pizzas baked in a Woodstone Pizza Oven from Bellingham, WA
The Flat Earther Mozz • Red Sauce • Basil
The Ginny • Diced Pepperoni • Mozz • Garlic Honey
The Dodger • Braised Beef • Cheddar • Cabbage • Tonkotsu • Kewpie
The Hot Neighbor • Taku Fried Chicken • Koji Hot Sauce • Jack Cheese • Cilantro
The Maverick • Yukon Potato • Crispy Broccoli • Cheddar • Pickled Chili
The Waylon • Spiced Ground Chicken • Cabbage • Red Onion • Herb Mix

Zeppole • Powdered Sugar • Seasonal Compote

Hours of Operation
Wednesday-Saturday – 5:00-9:30 p.m.
Sunday – 2:00-6:30 p.m.

Inside Redhook Brewlab at 714 East Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98122

Follow on Instagram @pizzakobo

About Chef Shota Nakajima
Chef Shota is the owner of Taku in Seattle and a three-time James Beard Foundation Awards semi-finalist. He was a top-3 finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2021 and was awarded Season 18 Fan Favorite as voted on by the public. He has received an Eater ‘Young Guns’ award, a Zagat’s ’30 Under 30’ chef designation, and competed on Iron Chef Gauntlet and Beat Bobby Flay. In 2021 he was named one of ‘The Most Influential People in Seattle’ by Seattle Met Magazine. Chef Shota seizes every opportunity to get outside and forage or fish, alongside his border collie Dodger, taking advantage of the abundance of wild goods in Washington’s mountains and waters.

About Redhook Brewlab
Established in 1981, Redhook was created to give Seattle drinkers a choice to drink something different. From modest beginnings in an old transmission shop in the Ballard neighborhood to a former trolley car barn in Fremont, Redhook embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Seattle. Four decades later, Seattle’s Original Craft Brewery is still brewing fresh, innovative, and hard-working craft beers for the new generations of beer lovers. In 2017 Redhook opened Brewlab, a modern brewery and pub concept in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that has been named Seattle Weekly’s Best Of – Best Brewery, Best Bar, and Best Happy Hour. Redhook Brewlab’s concept is an intersection of Seattle history and culture, a place where the city’s eclectic influences mix – art, science, brewing, food, and music.

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