Chipotle's Next Frontier: Pizza

Launched Pizzeria Locale in Denver, looking to open 2 new spots

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 19, 2013 6:25 AM CST

(Newser) – Chipotle has quietly made the move from Mexican to Italian: The fast food brand has been dishing out premium pizzas in Denver under the name Pizzeria Locale since May, after it spent 18 months revamping the joint, NBC News reports. Like the brand's burrito method, the pizza concept is based on service and speed, with custom pizzas—available with toppings like broccolini and corn—baked in less than two minutes. "We realized we could change the ways people think about pizza," Chipotle's founder, Steve Ells, told Business Insider. "Shockingly, it's worked."

The brand is already looking to open up two more pizzerias in the area, but will pizza bring about the same success Chipotle has seen since with its "fast casual" Mexican restaurants? It's possible: About 75% of people report having had pizza at least once in a two-week period, the Wall Street Journal notes via a market-research survey. Plus, Chipotle's concept has already proven successful in its six ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen locations, first launched in 2011. "I don't think there is a kind of cuisine that wouldn't fit into the Chipotle format," Ells says.

In this June 6, 2008 file photo, Steve Ells, center, CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill, has a taste of Le Burrito at a Chipotle location in New York.
In this June 6, 2008 file photo, Steve Ells, center, CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill, has a taste of "Le Burrito" at a Chipotle location in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
A non-Chipotle BLT pizza from Concord, N.H.
A non-Chipotle BLT pizza from Concord, N.H.   (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
This Oct. 31, 2006 photo shows a Chipotle Mexican Grill in central Denver.
This Oct. 31, 2006 photo shows a Chipotle Mexican Grill in central Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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