Chef-restaurateurs collaborate for new fast casual pizza concept

Feb. 1, 2013

Chefs Rodelio Aglibot (Koi, Yi Cuisine, Sunda, BLT) and Frank Fronda (Napa Valley Grille, Cafe del Rey, Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire), the founding partners of the Pilot Light Group, have teamed up with industry veteran Charlie Candelas (Wolfgang Puck, Darden Restaurants) to create a new fast casual pizza concept called Pizza Pizzeria.

The founders are leveraging more than 50 years of combined restaurant experience across all segments to open their new concept, which features a "chef-driven, food-focused approach to pizza," according to a company announcement.

Pizza Pizzeria will utilize an assembly-line format which allows guests to customize their 10-inch, hand-tossed pizzas from a selection of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The pizzas will then be cooked in a high-temperature stove oven in less than $3 minutes. They will retail for about $6.

According to Chef Fronda, the concept is a "lifetime in the making" and draws from his Italian-American roots.

"Everyone loves pizza, but not everyone has had the pleasure of experiencing a truly authentic pizza pie such as those hand-crafted by artisans in the pizzerias throughout Italy or higher-end restaurants in the US," Fronda said. "Pizza Pizzeria will afford every one the chance to taste the difference."

Fronda has spent years perfecting his dough recipe that the team hopes will be the signature differentiator of Pizza Pizzeria. The hand-stretched dough will be made daily in Pizza Pizzeria's "scratch" kitchen using a blend of organic flours, folds and overnight fermentation. The concept's tagline is "Respect the Dough."

Pizza Pizzeria's signature dish is the urban-style, neo-nap pizza, a cross between New York and Neapolitan-style pizza. The menu will also feature six pre-crafted pizzas ($6), salads ($6) and pastas ($7), prepared fresh to order, as well as unique local beverages, wines by the glass and beer.

"Today's diners are busy, budget conscious, food savvy individuals and families alike looking for better quality, affordable and convenient meal options," Candelas said. "We aim to create a product that juxtaposes satisfaction and value by providing a superior pizza at an affordable price point, served quickly and casually."

Initial development of Pizza Pizzeria will target existing "lifestyle centers" in suburban markets across Southern California, with expansion plans to debut three locations within the first year, accelerating to a quarterly opening schedule.

Read more about operations management.

Topics: Food & Beverage , Franchising & Growth , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management

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