The fast-food pizza concept Chipotle has developed in partnership with two Boulder, Colorado, restaurateurs is opening in Cincinnati this fall.
Kenwood Mall will be the location for the fourth Pizzeria Locale, which serves customized Neapolitan-inspired pizza put together in an interactive serving line and baked in two minutes. There are two in Denver, and one will open in Kansas City in July, just before the Kenwood location.
he fast-pizza format is not an unusual one, but Pizzeria Locale has some clear distinguishing characteristics that stem from its beginnings in fine dining. For instance, each pizza will start with dough mixed and naturally fermented in each restaurant. The recipe is flour, water and salt. Some of the flour is from a special variety of wheat grown in Oregon that provides a starter for natural yeasts that raise the dough overnight.
Pizzeria Locale is a joint venture between Chipotle and the two owners of Frasca Italian restaurant in Boulder. They are Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson – who was a James Beard Best Chef Southwest – and Bobby Stuckey, two-time James Beard winner for best wine service. Their second restaurant, also in Boulder, was the original Pizzeria Locale, a full-service pizza restaurant made after visiting and studying traditional pizza in Naples
“We want to serve the same food you get at our full-service fine-dining pizza restaurant for less money,” Mackinnon-Patterson said. “A margherita pizza made with great ingredients at the original pizzeria is $13. We can serve the same pizza for $5.50. It is fast food with an extraordinary dining experience.”
In addition to classic and custom-topped pizzas, Pizzeria Locale will have hand-tossed salads, meatballs and freshly sliced prosciutto on the menu.
“Fine dining is all about the details,” said Mackinnon-Patterson, so prosciutto will be sliced on the best kind of slicer, and the wine will come from Frasca’s own winery in Italy, kegged so that air never reaches it and served on tap. All the prep and all the cooking will be done at the restaurant level, not in a commissary, including their butterscotch budino.
The Cincinnati restaurant will be located in an old Johnny Rocket’s in Sycamore Plaza at 7800 Montgomery Road. McKinnon-Patterson said they chose Cincinnati because a smaller market was a place where they felt they could practice and develop their brand of “retro-restauranting,” where every customer matters. They also wanted a restaurant with a growing and developing dining scene.
So what’s the deal with this new pizza joint? Everybody seems to be on the Pizzeria Locale bandwagon but honestly I checked out after I saw the words ‘Chipotle’ and ‘pizza’ in the same sentence. Theoretically, that one two punch should automatically equal some high quality ‘za, but whenever a new pizza joint comes to town everyone automatically turns into some lame, foodie, pizza snob. I dig the whole “fast pizza” format. If there’s anything I like more than pizza it’s not having to wait an absurdly long ammount of time to get my pizza. Not trying to wait around for an hour when I know I’m gonna crush a 10″ in about 15 minutes. In that case, I’ll take a medium pepperoni and a bottle of that house wine to go. Time to show me what you got, Pizzeria Locale. Blow me away.