Restaurateurs around Denver are really hoping you’ll get on board with their fast-casual pizza concepts; time and money are being spent perfecting dough recipes, building health-conscious angles, and firing up custom ovens to blister crusts in the amount of time it takes you to swipe a debit card. Businesses are welcoming comparisons to other successful fast-casual operations — after all, if consumers have made the lowly burrito the king of the quick lunch, success seems more likely for newer chains if they mimic Chipotle’s service model and goals. Pizzeria Locale, Modmarket and Project Pizza are all competing for a slice of the pie market and are learning as they go.
Boulder-based Modmarket just announced that it has retooled its dough recipe, adding stone-ground wheat to the mix along with sea salt, olive oil, agave sugar and an overnight rise, which, according to the company’s press release, adds more flavor and strength to the finished dough. The new dough is now available at all eight Colorado Modmarket locations. A recent article on Thrillist included Modmarket in a list of small chains that could someday reach Chipotle-like proportions. The company also builds sandwiches and salads, capitalizing on the healthy-food trend in case the fast-casual pizza boom fizzles.
This comes right as the latest Pizzeria Locale opened in the West Highland neighborhood and owners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (both of Frasca fame) announced that they’ve rolled out a new 100 percent stone-ground wheat dough, some of which is actually ground in-store in a custom-built mill. Pizzeria Locale plans to retrofit its original fast-casual restaurant on Broadway with the same equipment and processes to make the new dough, which will also be the standard for all future locations. Comparisons with Chipotle are accurate when it comes to Pizzeria Locale; Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson teamed with the burrito giant to streamline the concept, based on their original Boulder pizzeria, for the fast-casual market.