Pizzeria Locale's secret sauce? A partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill

Categories: The Dish

piesinoven.jpg
Danielle Lirette
The Pizzeria Locale concept is hot!
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Bobby Stuckey, founders of Frasca Food and Wine, know the rules of classic pizza-making as well as fine-dining. They've been to Italy several times; their team members went there before they launched the original Pizzeria Locale in Boulder 2011. But they broke one of the cardinal rules when they opened Pizzeria Locale in Denver this past May, working with engineers to design a rotational hearth oven powered by gas and infrared, the only one of its kind in the world -- and a definite break from tradition. When Gretchen Kurtz reviewed Denver's Pizzeria Locale in September, she called it "Pizzeria Locale, Steve Ells-style, where you order at the counter and watch a line of white-shirted, red-hatted employees spoon toppings from metal containers onto dough that's loaded onto the spinning oven floor." The result was consistently delicious pizza coming out of that oven in just two minutes. "The concept behind Denver's Pizzeria Locale sure has its strong points," she concluded. "How far can Patterson, Stuckey and crew take it? God only knows."

God, and maybe Chipotle founder Steve Ells.

See also: Chipotle founder Steve Ells discusses the ingredients behind two decades in business

Ells founded his first Chipotle Mexican Grill at 1644 East Evans Avenue twenty years ago, and today there are more than a thousand outlets around the world.

He's been a friend of the Frasca partners for more than a decade, Mackinnon-Patterson says, "and we've always talked about the possibility of some kind of collaboration." That talk became concrete two years ago, when Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Frasca founders partnered to launch a Pizzeria Locale in Denver -- but one that would turn the full-service concept into a fast-casual concept, cutting prices without sacrificing on quality.

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Steve Ells keeps cooking up plans.
Ells's experience with Chipotle was invaluable. "The combination of the two businesses working together is a very lethal combination," he explains. "Chipotle is the best in the business at feeding people on a larger scale with the same kind of ingredients we use at Frasca. We thought a lot of those ideas just weren't possible."

But with Chipotle's operational knowledge, they discovered they were. "We realized we could change the ways people think about pizza...how can we serve the same ingredients at less than half the price. Shockingly, it's worked," he says. In fact, prices in Denver were recently cut.

"Opening Pizzeria Locale using a model similar to Chipotle allows us to make extraordinary pizza, made with high-quality ingredients accessible to everyone," Ells says in a statement announcing the partnership.

"Chipotle and Frasca have much more in common than they do apart," adds Mackinnon-Patterson. "They really care about the customer, about ingredients, about service. They don't want to compromise, and they don't."

Well, there was one compromise. Although Ells and Chipotle Mexican Grill partnered with Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson two years ago to pioneer the Denver store, they kept the relationship a secret. But now they're acknowledging the partnership. "It became more complicated than it needed to be," says Mackinnon-Patterson. "We were kind of stifled at times because of the secret."


Location Info

Venue

Map

Pizzeria Locale

550 Broadway Blvd, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Chipotle Mexican Grill

1644 E. Evans Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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259 comments
Cody Wilkes-Booth
Cody Wilkes-Booth

But you can't do French fries. Leave the pizza to the pizza places, rusty.

Tricia Sichko
Tricia Sichko

Yes please and also please add breakfast burritos!!! You've got all the fixings except eggs, and maybe potatoes but it would be killer and I'd be there as much as possible in the morning!!!

Cathy Shen
Cathy Shen

Looks good. Let's go eat Natalie.

Jesus Lopez
Jesus Lopez

Chipotle gave me food poisoning I almost died

Jim Baine
Jim Baine

Looks likea nice living room with the couch on fire, and pizza on the floor

Bobbi Lynn Driskill
Bobbi Lynn Driskill

Come to Mountain Home, Arkansas!! Haven't had Chipotle in 2 years since the nearest one to us is hours away. :(

Halena King
Halena King

You should see shrimp in your future instead

Steve Giberson
Steve Giberson

I though Pieology was already Chipotle for puzza lovers.

Jerry Beaucage
Jerry Beaucage

I wouldn't say that Chipotle Grill is authentic mexican but i do like it alot!!

Cara Mills
Cara Mills

How does this differ from Uncle Maddio's?

Luisa Gabriela Reyes
Luisa Gabriela Reyes

That's as far as Mexican as you call this restaurant Mexican and I love chipotle!!

Karen Nesbitt
Karen Nesbitt

Chipolte is definitely not good Mexican food. It is an American man's idea on what he thinks it should taste like. Maybe he has never eaten real mexican food. So won't be doing the pizza either. I want the authentic taste of Italian food and Mexican food.

Live To Die
Live To Die

That cool I will see heaven on the earth 2 my favorate place

Asad Jaleel
Asad Jaleel

Someone's trying to takeout pieology... Lol #pawpow #knockout #youropponent

Doug Moore
Doug Moore

Nothing like a good Mexican Pizza.

Laura Pelotte
Laura Pelotte

I am completely okay with this :) pizza and burritos...yes please!

Tony Keithley
Tony Keithley

Just back from Hawaii for over a year. Been craving Chipotle for ovet a year. Today a Burrito bowl gets killed.

Mitch Goulet
Mitch Goulet

Well it can't be any worse than your food.

Bernie Smith
Bernie Smith

Janet and I love Chipotles too.I love their salad and leave off the burrito.

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