Industry News | December 29, 2008

Moe's Co-Founder Opens Pizza Concept

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Moe's Southwest Grill co-founder Matt Andrew, along with partner Tony Lewis, is opening a new made-to-order pizza concept called Maddio’s Pizza Joint in Atlanta on January 1, 2009 at 3027 North Druid Hills Road.

Andrews is billing Maddio’s Pizza Joint as “New Italian” pizza joint. Customers will be greeted by a pizza maker who offers a choice of dough, sauce, and more than 45 toppings.

Guests can choose one of nine signature pizzas or personalize their pizza starting with the thickness of the crust.

Customers are also offered the option of choosing whole wheat or regular dough, then selecting one of six homemade sauces. Sauce options include Maddio’s Signature Tomato-Basil, Herb Pesto, and Spicy Buffalo, among others.

“We have gone to great lengths to develop a recipe for craveable, fresh food topped with an engaging, inviting experience,” explains Andrew, president of Maddio’s Pizza Joint.

“We learned early on the importance of using fresh ingredients. Our vegetables, which we source locally when available, are delivered daily. We really stepped outside the category in delivering made from scratch products—dough, sauces, dressings … even our meats (chicken and beef) which are 99.9 percent hormone free, hand chopped and marinated fresh daily."

America’s Fascination with Pizza

Like many foods, pizza isn't indigenous to America with claims of origin tracing back to Italy, Naples in particular. However no country has done more, not even Italy, to popularize it.

It is said to have made its debut 103 years ago in New York City, by Gennaro Lombardi, but it wasn’t until the 1950s when Americans started noticing pizza, made popular by such icons as Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, and Dean Martin whose song, "That’s Amore," inspired generations of singing and eating pizza.

Today, approximately three billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. annually. Pizza accounts for 13 percent of all restaurant orders, trailing hamburgers and cheeseburgers by just a few percentage points.

Creating A Next Generation Pizzeria Working closely with Andrew and Lewis is long-time restaurant design and commercial developer, Rob McKerrow, who was been challenged with creating a distinct atmosphere that delivers a vibrant, contemporary pizza joint experience that’s a departure from the typical Americanized pizza parlor.

“Because our customers interact with the pizza maker from the time they enter, Rob (McKerrow) paid special attention to the personality of the kitchen—it’s modern, clean and inviting,” explains Andrew.

“He has done an amazing job of tying in marble, steel and woods to create a palette that’s new Italian … something Maddio’s can own. And he did it within the tight parameters Lewis set to meet the speed and flow requirements the operation team needs to fulfill the customer experience.”

Maddio’s believes customers will not only love the personalization, the food, the speed and the décor, they believe pizza lovers will appreciate the significant choices on cheeses (including Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Feta and Ricotta), veggies (including Artichoke Hearts, Roasted Red Peppers, Mandarin Oranges) and meats (including Chicken Apple Sausage, Jerk Chicken and Canadian Bacon). Of course, the team of pizza makers offers a proud menu of signature pizzas, including the Steak & Blue, Southwest Baja, Chicken Club and Portobello Pesto.

“We also studied the customer’s experience with toppings at other pizza restaurants and chose to deviate from the category norm,” adds Lewis, who shares a Moe’s Southwest Grill history with Andrew among other restaurants. “All of our toppings are premium because they are the highest quality products, but our pricing is not. Also, we offer any three toppings with every pizza, reinforcing the idea of choice without surprises at the register.”

In the instance that pizza lovers or their friends want to opt for a fresh salad or toasted sub, the same attention has gone into choosing fresh ingredients, fresh baked breads and homemade dressings. Salads are healthy in serving size, including Maddio’s House, the Basil Chicken Salad and the Santa Fe to name a few. With a choice of white or wheat baked sub rolls, guests can enjoy one of six toasted subs, including the Tuscan Meatball, Maddio’s Cheese Steak (with steak or chicken), a Garden Veggie and the classic Italian. All subs and salads are priced at just $6.49.

Maddio’s also serves a kids meal—six-inch pizza with one topping and a drink for $2.99. Its Apple Crisp Dessert Pizza is the featured treat, along with brownies and chocolate cookies. Maddio’s also serves ice cold draft and bottle beer, wine, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, fresh brewed tea, bottled water and healthy juices.

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