Chipotle Sticks Its Organic Nose Up at Pizza-Making Italians Everywhere

Chipotle PizzaEditor’s Note: Possibly not a Chipotle official photo. Also, possibly not an Editor’s Note.

Late last year, the progenitors of fast-casual food with a little added integrity decided that, because the burrito business has done them a solid for a minute, it was time to bring the Chipotle mania to another sector: pizza.

Much to the chagrin of the little box delivery chains across this great land of ours, Chipotle’s presence on the pizza scene is a legitimate threat. And although there are no holes to shoot in Chipotle’s dough, the burrito giants have decided to throw down.

Almost a year later, here’s the shot fired: Pizza people, you’re doing it wrong!

The name of the Chipotle-backed concept is called Pizzeria Locale. The main source of differentiation is not the ingredients — it’s all about the crust, and if you ask the chain’s proprietors, no one has been doing it right.

pizzeria localeNever mind that people in impoverished areas of Greece and the Middle East have been baking flatbread with tomatoes on it for centuries. Disregard the fact that other people in Naples added fresh cheese, glorious basil, and a few other things good enough to make you slap your mother.

Now, is this a smart PR play, a #PRFail, or both?

The focus of the story is a move away from the traditional Molina Caputo “double-zero flour” used at the original Pizzeria Locale; co-founder Bobby Stuckey calls the shift  a potential game changer, according to this article from Nation’s Restaurant News

Stuckey said the traditional double-zero flour has been widely used in the pizza industry since World War II, a time when flour became a commodity that was stripped of nutrients to give it a longer shelf life and making it easier to ship around the world.

“It probably saved billions of lives because it helped stop starvation,” said Stuckey. “But it’s not healthy for you.”

The Edison flour, on the other hand, is a nutrient-dense whole wheat that offers a richness of flavor not found in commoditized wheat, Stuckey said.

There is no doubt about the taste and quality of Chipotle’s food, but it’s the attitude of the whole movement that could work against them. As our friend at Bender/Helper Impact put it back in August.

Maybe that will leave a bad taste in the mouth of consumers (be they Italian or not). Time and lots of tomato sauce will tell.