Museum of Pizza creator shares ‘bonkers’ story behind his nearly Fyre Festival-level catastrophe: ‘I lost a lot of money’

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Kareem Rahma conscionable wanted a portion of nan pie, but he sewage burned successful nan process.

In 2018, nan New York City comedian wanted to rate successful connected nan occurrence of Instagrammable food-inspired museums successful nan Big Apple pinch nan immersive Museum of Pizza, but his pie-in-the-sky thought resulted successful his “biggest financial failure” that was astir a Fyre Festival-level catastrophe.

Rahma, who is nan big of aggregate celebrated online bid for illustration “Subway Takes” and “Keep nan Meter Running,” mislaid thousands of dollars successful nan process of creating nan wildly celebrated Brooklyn pop-up — whose visitors were nary nan wiser that nan depository almost didn’t open.

“All I could deliberation astir legitimately was nan New York Post header that would tally if, for immoderate reason, it didn’t unfastened aliases immoderate different point happened,” he told The Post.

“And truthful for me, it was, like, I promised group a pizza depository … and I will deliver, nary pun intended, to them a pizza museum.”

Rahma promised visitors a food cave — and delivered. AP

While appearing arsenic a impermanent connected “The Downside Podcast” this week, Rahma recounted specifications of nan harrowing tale, taking listeners backmost to nan summertime of 2018.

“I mean, astatine that point, everyone and their mom was starting a museum,” he told The Post, recalling nan harvest of food-influenced museums, for illustration nan Museum of Ice Cream, that had spawned successful NYC.

“But I saw truthful galore of them, and I was, like, ‘Oh, this seems for illustration it’s a reasonably easy point to get up and running, and pizza’s astir apt nan world’s favourite food. I stake group would travel to spot a pizza museum.'”

The NYC comedian now hosts aggregate celebrated online series, specified arsenic “Subway Takes.” Stefano Giovannini
Rahma recalled nan 2018 nutrient depository roar that inspired his Museum of Pizza idea. AP

With a fewer clicks connected nan computer, Rahma created a SquareSpace tract earlier moreover booking a location for nan pop-up, listing his half-baked ideas for installations, for illustration a food cave and food beach.

To his surprise, he sold a whopping $300,000 worthy of tickets successful conscionable 24 hours, he claimed connected nan podcast.

“It went bonkers,” he told co-hosts Gianmarco Soresi and Russel Daniels.

But location was 1 immense problem: He didn’t person moreover a basal thought of what nan depository would include, overmuch little wherever it would beryllium located.

“I didn’t moreover picture a conception — I conscionable put nan connection ‘cheese’ earlier different words and ‘pizza’ earlier different words.”

Mere months distant from launching his barely-on-paper-only installation, Rahma made a huffy scramble to book artists and architects to build nan experience, filing permits pinch nan metropolis and yet locking down a venue for nan pop-up downtown.

Things seemed easy arsenic pastry — until nan landlord abruptly “ghosts” Rahma pinch specified weeks to spare, taking his $20,000 information deposit and leaving nan entrepreneur scrambling to book different space.

His destiny seemed bleak arsenic things snowballed, “getting worse and worse and worse and worse,” he told The Post, fearing that he would taint his estimation if his brainchild were to neglect contempt his “good intentions.”

“I was conscionable reasoning astir really I had to do it — like, that was nan only option,” he recalled, adding that his nightmare was becoming a “Fyre Festival 2.”

“All I could deliberation astir legitimately was nan New York Post header that would tally if, for immoderate reason, it didn’t unfastened aliases immoderate different point happened,” he told The Post. Pictured supra is 1 portion of nan funky installation. AP
With nan thief of artists, contractors, architects and more, Rahma made his far-fetched brainchild into a reality, opening nan pie-lovers’ pop-up successful Brooklyn six years ago. AP
“I deliberation a estimation is thing that tin beryllium tarnished forever, and it’s really difficult to fig retired really to hole it, truthful I would alternatively suffer nan $200,000 than to suffer my reputation,” Rahma told The Post. Stefano Giovannini

He yet stumbled crossed a vacant abstraction successful nan William Vale Hotel successful Brooklyn, forking complete hundreds of thousands of dollars for nan impermanent lease and hemorrhaging rate to build lighting, shelvings and walls — each successful nan span of conscionable 2 weeks.

Running connected very small slumber and a dream, Rahma luckily completed nan accumulation and opened correct connected schedule, though he compared his near-miss to the viral Willy Wonka disaster that occurred successful Scotland earlier this year.

Despite seeming for illustration a blockbuster event, nan Museum of Pizza resulted successful a financial nonaccomplishment of an estimated $200,000, admitted Rahma, who had created nan pop-up nether a now-defunct media company.

Vowing that he would “never do it again” by himself, he was moreover hospitalized owed to nan accent of nan “traumatizing” venture, he told The Post.

In fact, it inspired him to alteration profession paths entirely, quitting entrepreneurship to go a comedian.

“I deliberation what I’ve learned is that ‘fake it ’til you make it’ is simply a bully thing. You should clone it ’til you make it … you should dress for nan occupation you want,” he said.

“I deliberation that’s bully advice, but successful immoderate contexts, I judge that that is not bully proposal — and I ended up utilizing it successful nan incorrect way.”

The comedian called it his “biggest financial failure,” likening nan near-catastrophe to nan Fyre Festival aliases nan Willy Wonka immersive acquisition that went awry this year. Instagram / @thedownsidepod
Rahma recalled his financial faux pas to podcast big Gianmarco Soresi. Instagram / @thedownsidepod

Looking backmost connected it six years later, he tin now opportunity that it “was f–king awesome” to bring together a cohort of artists to “make a bunch of cool worldly based astir nan world’s favourite food” successful what could beryllium considered 1 of nan world’s pizza capitals.

It surely helps that he didn’t decimate his bully name.

“Obviously, money’s important, but I deliberation money comes and goes,” he said. “I deliberation a estimation is thing that tin beryllium tarnished forever, and it’s really difficult to fig retired really to hole it, truthful I would alternatively suffer nan $200,000 than to suffer my reputation.”

And, if nan fiasco that was Fyre Festival warrants a documentary aliases two, doesn’t nan Museum of Pizza merit immoderate on-screen time, too?

“If anyone wants to make a movie astir this, deed maine up,” he quipped.


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