Last year, news broke thatChipotle had been quietly growing a pizza chain in Denver.
Crowds and press immediately swarmed Pizzeria Locale, which had been open for about a year.
Pizzeria Locale’s founders, Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, went to great lengths to ensure their famous investor was kept a secret, writes Amy McKeever at Eater. Fewer than 20 people knew about the partnership.
Stuckey, Mackinnon-Patterson, and Chipotle founder Steve Ells were afraid that media hype would keep Pizzeria Locale from successfully launching.
McKeever describes a few close calls — and how Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson covered them up.
- In the summer of 2012, Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson were leaving a meeting at Chipotle’s headquarters when they saw their publicist in the lobby. “We Oceans 11 ‘d it,” Stuckey told Eater. The restaurateurs abruptly turned around and snuck out a back exit.
- Pizzeria Locale’s construction manager was in a meeting with Chipotle development director, Carl Behler, when he asked who he worked for. The problem? Stucky and Mackinnon-Patterson hadn’t developed a backstory for Behler. They ended up saying he was their “Uncle Carl from Florida,” and even went as far as to print business cards for him that said “Uncle Carl.”
- Pizzeria Locale is located next to a Chipotle, and often received packages meant for the burrito chain. “But the trickiest delivery was that of the Pizzeria Locale uniforms, which are made by the same company that makes Chipotle’s uniforms,” Eater writes. “When all the boxes arrived at Pizzeria Locale in the middle of a training session, they were covered in Chipotle tape. That all had to be cut off ‘feverishly’ before anyone on staff saw it.”
Today, the chain is looking to open two additional restaurants in Colorado.
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