Industry News | December 18, 2013

The Actual “Chipotle of Pizza”; Brand Invests In Pizzeria

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Chipotle Mexican Grill partnered with restaurateurs Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson to launch a fast-causal pizza concept called Pizzeria Locale. The first restaurant is located in Denver and is based on a full-service pizzeria by the same name located in Boulder, Colorado. Pizzeria Locale opened its first fast casual location in partnership with Chipotle in May and is exploring options for second and third locations in Denver.

Pizzeria Locale offers a menu that includes 10 classic pizzas, four American classics, and customer-created combinations from a selection of ingredients presented in an interactive service line. Pizzas are then fired in a high-temperature pizza oven that bakes the pizzas in less than two minutes. The restaurant also serves salads and sides, including prosciutto and meatballs. Red or white Italian wine is available on tap.

The original Pizzeria Locale in Boulder opened in 2011 and was created by Frasca Food and Wine founders Stuckey, a master sommelier, and executive chef Mackinnon-Patterson. The full-service restaurant is a contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples, Italy. The new Denver restaurant draws from the same inspiration. It also draws from a commitment to premium ingredients and an interactive service format similar to Chipotle.

"Bobby and Lachlan are extraordinary restaurateurs who truly understand what it takes to provide an exceptional dining experience," says Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle. "I have known them for years and I thought their pizzeria in Boulder presented the perfect opportunity to collaborate. Opening Pizzeria Locale using a model similar to Chipotle allows us to make extraordinary pizza, made with high-quality ingredients accessible to everyone."

"Steve has been a friend for 10 years, and for many of those years, we have talked about collaborating on something. With Pizzeria Locale, we found a project we were all passionate about and we couldn't be happier than to have a partner in Chipotle that shares our vision of making our pizza accessible to more people," Patterson says. "We have always admired Chipotle's pursuit of the best ingredients, its commitment preparing food using classic cooking techniques, and their understanding of what it takes to create a great restaurant experience. Through this partnership, we can continue to run Pizzeria Locale with the same energy and passion we've always had, but can also look to Chipotle to help with some of the challenges that can become distracting for a restaurateur."

Pizzeria Locale's design features dark woods, white tiled floors and walls, marble accents on tables and the pizza-making station, a special dough room that holds dough at a consistent 72-degrees and a humidity level that mimics Naples on a spring day, and a custom-developed pizza oven that cooks pizzas in under two minutes.

Pizzeria Locale joins ShopHouse as an additional concept that provides future growth opportunities for Chipotle. Chipotle operates six ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, with additional restaurants opening in the coming months.

"While both Pizzeria Locale and ShopHouse are exciting concepts, it's important to remember that our growth will continue to be driven for the foreseeable future by expanding the Chipotle brand within the U.S.," Ells says.

Plans for growing Pizzeria Locale call for slow, measured expansion that allows the restaurant to perfect the concept and service model, and to develop from within the people it will need to staff additional restaurants. Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson's other ventures, Frasca Food and Wine and the original Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Colorado, are not part of this partnership and are not affiliated in any way with Chipotle.