Pizzeria Locale — the Colorado-based, fast-casual pizza chain backed by Chipotle Mexican Grill — is shutting its last five locations, a Chipotle spokesperson confirmed to Nation’s Restaurant News via email.
“We have made the decision to close all five Pizzeria Locale restaurants on July 10 and dissolve the business,” Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs officer for Chipotle, said in a statement. “Impacted employees have been extended employment opportunities at Chipotle restaurants in the Denver area.”
Pizzeria Locale first opened its doors in Boulder in 2003 as a Neapolitan-style pizza concept founded by chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and master sommelier Bobby Stuckey. A decade later, Chipotle became involved as a major investor. After investing in the budding concept and striking a deal with the original owners, Chipotle was able to expand Pizzeria Locale to Kansas City, Mo. Although the five remaining locations have now been shuttered, the original Pizzeria Locale is still in existence after it was rebranded in February to Pizzeria Alberico.
This is not the first emerging brand Chipotle has acquired and then shuttered: In 2017, Chipotle decided to shutter all 15 locations of its ShopHouse Asian Kitchen chain. Then, in 2018, Chipotle abandoned its emerging burger concept, Tasty Made, and shuttered its lone quick-service restaurant in Ohio.
However, this doesn’t mean that Chipotle is abandoning the strategy of investment in emerging concepts. In February, the burrito chain announced that it was opening a new restaurant concept called Farmesa at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California. The grains-and- greens bowl-centric menu was curated by James Beard Award-winning chef Nate Appleman. Farmesa is located inside a Kitchen United location and can be accessed via pickup, delivery, or kiosk.
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]