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Chipotle-backed chain bakes pizza in seconds

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Posted at 2:16 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 14:16:57-04

CINCINNATI - Pizzeria Locale, a fast-casual pizza concept backed by Chipotle, has chosen Deerfield Township as its second Cincinnati location.

A Kenwood location, in the former Johnny Rockets space at Sycamore Plaza, is now under construction.

“It’s a pizzeria inspired by the pizza in Naples, Italy,” said co-founder Bobby Stuckey. Customers order Chipotle-style from a counter full of fresh ingredients. Then, the pie cooks for 90 seconds in a rotating oven that reaches temperatures of 1,000 degrees.

“It’s a proprietary oven,” Stuckey said. “It took about a year and a half to develop it.”

<img data-cke-saved-src="http://media2.wcpo.com/photo/2015/09/09/WCPOPizzeriaFounders_1441806001474_23764550_ver1.0_640_480.jpg" src="http://media2.wcpo.com/photo/2015/09/09/WCPOPizzeriaFounders_1441806001474_23764550_ver1.0_640_480.jpg" "="">

Bobby Stuckey, left, with Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson

Stuckey started the concept with Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, an award-winning chef who owns an Italian fine dining restaurant with Stuckey in Boulder, Colorado. When the two started their Naples-inspired concept in Boulder, Chipotle founder Steve Ells became a fan, then an investor.

The chain now has two locations in the Denver area and one in Kansas City. Stuckey said it chose Cincinnati because Chipotle has done well here and the food scene is vibrant.

“There’s a lot of great energy going on in Cincinnati, food wise,” he said. “A lot of fun stuff.”

Pizzeria Locale offers 11-inch pizzas at prices ranging from $5.75 to $8.25. It also has salads, meatballs and prosciutto on the menu, along with local beer and wine on tap. Stuckey expects the Kenwood location to open by November. The Deerfield store will be located in the 9500 block of Mason Montgomery Road, near the Mason campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. 

"it's one of the top trade areas in Greater Cincinnati for restaurants," said Casey Ward, a Midland Retail partner that represents the chain in its Cincinnati site search. "You have a dense population base and a tremendous amount of daytime workers to generate the lunch business."

Pizzeria Locale has also looked at Hyde Park and Over-the-Rhine for potential expansion in the future.

“I personally love the whole energy of Over-the-Rhine,” Stuckey said. “I just don’t think there’s any (suitable locations) there right now.”

Because the chain is at a formative stage, Stuckey declined to predict how many restaurants it could open in Cincinnati  -- or nationally. It currently has two in Denver and one in Kansas City, with a second location planned there.

“We’re just going to do one store at a time and see what happens,” he said.