When Chipotle Mexican Grill first expanded outside its home state of Colorado, it came to the Kansas City area with a restaurant in 1998.
Now it has a partnership with Colorado-based Pizzeria Locale, and Kansas City topped the list for the first expansion outside their home state.
Pizzeria Locale is a partnership between Chipotle and Colorado restaurateurs Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson.
The first area restaurant is to open this summer at 505 W. 75th St., next to a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Waldo. It will have 15 to 20 employees. Pizza Manifesto operated in the space for a short stint in 2014.
Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson said they often traveled to Kansas City to sell their wines and knew many restaurateurs in the area. They looked throughout the market before leasing the spot just west of Wornall Road.
Waldo “seems like a real neighborhood with the same kind of captivating feeling that we have at our locations in Colorado,” said Mackinnon-Patterson.
Stuckey, a master sommelier, and chef Mackinnon-Patterson opened the first Pizzeria Locale as a full-service restaurant in Boulder in 2011, next to their Frasca Food and Wine restaurant.
In May 2013, the first Pizza Locale under the new partnership with Chipotle opened in Denver, this one as a fast-casual spinoff of the Boulder restaurant. Another Denver restaurant opened in October 2014.
Pizzeria Locale is described as a contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples, Italy. The fast-casual menu has individually made pizzas, including specialty pies such as the Mais (mozzarella, sweet corn, crème fraîche, ham and garlic) and the Calabria (sauce, ricotta, oregano, garlic and Calabrian chiles).
Customers also can select their own ingredients, including anchovies, broccolini, capers, eggplant, Gorgonzola, pork meatballs, prosciutto, red onion and zucchini.
The pizzas are fired in a custom-designed, high-temperature oven.
Other menu items include hand-tossed salads, sides and sweets.
Red or white Italian wine — blended by Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson in Italy — will be available on tap. It also will offer a variety of local craft beers.
Chipotle also operates nine ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen locations in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, with more locations scheduled to open this year.
All three restaurant chains focus on fresh ingredients, streamlined menus and quick service.
Chipotle said Kansas City is an ideal market for expansion of Pizzeria Locale because Chipotle is an established brand with a strong local team. According to the company, the first area Chipotle opened in Overland Park in May 1998.
“Our restaurants in Kansas City do very, very well, and we have a very strong operation in Kansas City,” said Chris Arnold, spokesman for Chipotle. “Pizzeria Locale will oversee the day-to-day operations. We provide the capital and other overall expertise and resources as needed.”