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D.C. based Neapolitan pizza chain Pupatella looks to local neighborhoods for growth

Leaders Cord Thomas and Michael Berger talk about the power of a restaurant woven into the fabric of its local community.


When Cord Thomas and Michael Berger’s previous brand, Elevation Burger, was sold to Fat Brands in 2019, they fielded multiple opportunities to team with other growing restaurant chains.

None of those opportunities provided quite the potential as Pupatella, though. Founders Enzo and Anastasiya Algarme were interested in scaling the hugely successful Neapolitan pizzeria that boasts VPN-certified pizza (approved by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, a Naples, Italy-based nonprofit that verifies the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza) and has a unique experience in a sea of delivery-forward pizza chains.

In Pupatella, Thomas and Berger spotted an opportunity to pair a high-quality product with a comfortable, neighborhood setting that could weave itself into the fabric of the community — the kind of place where little league teams gather after games. They joined forces with the Algarmes and have helped the brand scale to eight locations, with two more on the way.

Thomas and Berger joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to share why they want Pupatella to be a neighborhood restaurant and why a more upscale, full-service pizza experience is still in demand in a convenience-hungry world.

In this conversation, you’ll learn more about why:

  • One trick to being a successful entrepreneur is capitalizing on timing
  • Scaling a complex supply chain requires that you consolidate your base of operations
  • In an off-premises world, don’t forget that table service provides value too
  • There is a hole in the market for the neighborhood restaurant
  • An off-the-beaten-path location with a loyal customer base is just as good as the corner of Main and Main
  • Stick to what you know how to do — and where you know how to do it

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

TAGS: Fast Casual
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