Chefs Rodelio Aglibot (Koi, Yi Cuisine, Sunda, BLT) and Frank Fronda (Napa Valley Grille, Cafe del Rey, Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire), founding partners of the Pilot Light Group, have teamed with industry veteran Charlie Candelas (Wolfgang Puck, Darden Restaurants) to raise the culinary bar on the emerging fast-casual pizza market with their upcoming concept Pizza Pizzeria.
With more than 50 years of combined restaurant experience, and more than 100 fine-dining, casual, and quick-service concept openings and conversions, the team brings an unfound skillset from the market to the table, taking a chef-driven, food-focused approach that aims to define the “art” of fast-casual pizza.
Using an assembly-line format, Pizza Pizzeria affords guests the opportunity to craft their own 10-inch, hand-tossed personal pizza with a selection of high-quality, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, and then watch as it is cooked to perfection in an authentic high-temperature stone oven in less than three minutes, for about $6.
A lifetime in the making, the inspired concept draws from Fronda’s Italian-American roots, as well as Aglibot’s love for Italy, his Italian restaurant roots, and the many miles and meals shared on their investigative culinary travels throughout the world.
“Everyone loves pizza, but not everyone has had the pleasure of experiencing a truly authentic pizza pie such as those hand-crafted by artisans in the pizzerias throughout Italy or higher-end restaurants in the U.S.,” Fronda says. “Pizza Pizzeria will afford everyone the chance to taste the difference.”
At the heart of the Pizza Pizzeria concept is its signature urban-style neo-nap pizza—a cross between New York and Neapolitan-style pizza, simply crafted in the Old World. The concept’s commitment is expressed by its tagline “Respect the Dough.”
Fronda has spent years perfecting the dough recipe that will be a defining element of Pizza Pizzeria. This signature, hand-stretched dough will be made daily in Pizza Pizzeria’s “scratch” kitchen using a signature blend of organic flours, folds, and over-night fermentation, affording a neo-nap crust that is all at once chewy and crispy.
“Today’s diners are busy, budget-conscious, food-savvy individuals and families alike looking for better quality, affordable, and convenient meal options,” Candelas says. “We aim to create a product that juxtaposes satisfaction and value by providing a superior pizza at an affordable price point, served quickly and casually.”
In addition to the pizza offerings, Pizza Pizzeria’s menu will feature six pre-crafted pizzas ($6), salads ($6), and pastas ($7) prepared fresh to order, as well as local beverages, wines by the glass, and ice-cold beer.
Pizza Pizzeriaaims to be a lifestyle food experience designed to become an integral part of the neighborhood. Initial development of Pizza Pizzeria will target existing “lifestyle centers” in suburban markets across Southern California, with expansion plans to debut three locations within the first year, accelerating to a quarterly opening schedule.