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David Dobrik's L.A. pizza restaurant opening draws massive weekend crowds despite influencer’s controversial past

By the time Doughbrik’s sold its inaugural slice, the line of eager customers spilled over multiple blocks, snaking into the Hollywood Hills and disrupting traffic.
David Dobrik outside his pizza place Doughbrik's Pizza on Nov. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles.
David Dobrik outside his pizza place Doughbrik's Pizza on Nov. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles.Hollywood To You/Star Max / GC Images

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The Granada family piled into their SUV and drove nearly 200 miles — about four hours — from Fresno to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon to set up camp on Sunset Boulevard.

YouTuber David Dobrik’s restaurant, Doughbrik’s, would open its doors at 1 p.m. Saturday. The family knew their early arrival would guarantee them a prime spot in line, a slice of pizza and, most important: a Dobrik sighting.

“He’s just one of those YouTubers that you watch all the time, like ‘The Office’ and all those other shows you binge,” Ocean Granada, 21, said. “And so it was just a chance to finally meet him.”

Dobrik, 26, has gradually stepped away from YouTube in recent years. A string of controversies have entangled him since he filed for the Doughbrik’s trademark in 2020.

Dobrik, who has more than 27 million subscribers across three YouTube channels, has barely posted on the platform this year (his most recent video was uploaded in March). His podcast, with co-host and fellow creator Jason Nash, seems to be on hiatus as of April. Dobrik remains most active on TikTok, where he has 26.3 million followers.

Dozens of people flocked around the entrance to the restaurant, where Dobrik was posing for photos with fans who braved the line.

“We were all afraid of the line getting too long, like how it is now, and we came all this way,” said Iona Granada, 13. “We wouldn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.”

Situated next to the influencer hot spot Saddle Ranch, Doughbrik's is a partnership among Dobrik, fellow creator Ilya Fedorovich and the founders of the Los Angeles-based restaurant chain Lemonade. In homage to Dobrik's and Fedorovich's Chicago roots, Doughbrik's Instagram account promotes the restaurant as the place to get the "fluffiest, cheesiest and doughyest slice of pizza in town."

"We would go out all the time at Saddle Ranch," Dobrik said in an interview with NBC Los Angeles’ Paul Costabile. "Now we're open here ... until 3 a.m. Other places close. This will be the spot for our friends to come and eat and hang out."

Dobrik started on Vine, rose to stardom on YouTube and launched a podcast in 2020. He and his ensemble of collaborators — known as the Vlog Squad — once dominated YouTube with weekly vlogs, prank videos and luxury giveaways.

Over the past two years, Dobrik has been involved in several scandals, including a sexual assault allegation against one of his former collaborators, which is alleged to have taken place while the Vlog Squad recorded a video about group sex, according to an investigation by Insider. After having lost a number of sponsorships, stepped down from his startup Dispo and posted two poorly received apology videos, Dobrik has distanced himself from the sexual assault allegation.

“I couldn’t see how they were connected to me," Dobrik told Rolling Stone last year.

Dobrik could not be reached for comment through his manager and representative.

Dobrik also faces a $10 million lawsuit from ex-Vlog Squad member Jeff Wittek, who said he "nearly died" from injuries he sustained recording a stunt video in 2020 and has undergone multiple operations since. The lawsuit reportedly accuses Dobrik, who operated the machinery Wittek was attached to when he was injured, of “general negligence and intentional tort."

Dobrik addressed the incident on his podcast in March, when he described it as an "accident."

"He got hurt because I was driving. ... Any chance I would get I would take that back," he said in the episode. "That'll be the biggest regret of my entire life."

In September, TMZ reported that Dobrik "is asking the judge to dismiss the complaint and award nothing to Jeff."

Wittek did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While many lined up to see Dobrik in person, the restaurant's opening also prompted some backlash.

Some irate drivers rolled down their windows to yell at pedestrians, who had to walk on the street because the line filled the entire sidewalk. Ocean Granada said that while he was waiting in line, he heard someone in a passing car yell “rapist” in the direction of the pizzeria.

I just thought, ‘OK, he’s getting canceled,’ but I’m not gonna be hating on him. I'm still a fan, because I really do like to watch his videos.

— Iona Granada, a fan at DOUGHBRIK’S opening

The pizza spot also got a handful of negative Yelp reviews, some of which mention the sexual assault allegation and the pending lawsuit. Some photos posted to Twitter and Reddit depict what appears to be the pizzeria vandalized with the word “rapist” ahead of its opening. NBC News could not independently verify the photos.

Iona Granada said she still enjoys Dobrik's content despite the backlash.

"I just thought, 'OK, he's getting canceled,' but I'm not gonna be hating on him," she said. "I'm still a fan, because I really do like to watch his videos."

Other fans shared similar thoughts online. “i think is safe to say that the cancel culture is mostly online bc there were SO many people to support him,” wrote a Reddit user, who posted a selfie with Dobrik in a r/DavidDobrik subreddit.

By the time Doughbrik’s had sold its inaugural slice, the line of eager customers spilled over multiple city blocks, snaking into the Hollywood Hills and disrupting traffic.

Some in the crowd, like aspiring YouTuber Janny Hailemari, hoped to get a glimpse of Dobrik without having to wait in line. Hailemari, 22, said that he wouldn't be able to stand for that long without back pain but that wanted to get video of Dobrik for his vlog.

"He's a big YouTuber, and I'm doing a vlog, too," Hailemari said. "I learned a lot from him. It will be a good experience to take a video with him."

Despite not being a Vlog Squad fan, Annette Vasquez, 22, drove an hour from San Bernardino, almost 70 miles away, because she "wasn't going to do anything else" that day. After four hours of waiting, she was halfway through the line.

"I've been seeing it a lot on social media," Vasquez said. "So it's kind of like one of those FOMO things and fear of missing out. I was just curious."

At least one person in the crowd actually came for the pizza.

Matin Madi, 19, held a spot for his friends at the very end of the line while they looked for parking. Madi said he had "nothing else to do" and agreed to join his friends, who were huge fans, because he lived in nearby Hollywood.

"Actually, I'm more here for the pizza. I love pizza. So I'm trying to try that," Madi said. "But my friend, she's, like, a fan girl, and my other buddy really likes him [Dobrik]. So hopefully they get to meet him, and hopefully I get to have some pizza."

By the end of the day, Dobrik — who also cut a ceremonial ribbon outside the restaurant — posted a thank you to fans on his Instagram story.

"Could not imagine a better first day!!" he wrote with a selfie of himself in Doughbrik’s merch. The restaurant, he wrote, "sold out of pizza" its opening day.