Several years ago, Chipotle took a gamble and decided to branch out from its burrito business. The chain invested in Colorado-based Pizzeria Locale, a pizza brand that specialized in Neapolitan-style pies. Unfortunately, that gamble didn't end up paying off. According to recent reports, Chipotle is officially pulling the plug on its pizza venture and permanently shuttering its remaining locations in Denver, Colo.
The first Pizzeria Locale opened in 2003 in Boulder. Chipotle invested in the brand in 2013 and helped it expand with new locations in Kansas City, Mo., and Cincinnati, Ohio. But some early signs of trouble for the chain emerged in 2018 when Chipotle announced it would be closing all the Pizzerias outside of Colorado.
In the years since Pizzeria Locale's exit from the Midwest, Chipotle has opened a couple of additional restaurants in the Denver area. The most recent of these openings took place just a few months ago in January 2023, according to KUSA.
The reasons for Chipotle's decision to shutter the remaining five Pizzeria Locale locations weren't immediately clear. A statement from Chipotle confirming the closures did not offer any insight into why they were completely pulling the plug on the pizza brand.
"We have made the decision to close all five Pizzeria Locale restaurants on July 10 and dissolve the business. Impacted employees have been extended employment opportunities at Chipotle restaurants in the Denver area," Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs officer for Chipotle, said in the statement.
In better news for fans of this now-defunct pizza chain, the very first Pizzeria Locale is still open but was rebranded and operates under the name Pizzeria Alberico.
Chipotle has thrown its support behind a few different restaurant concepts over the years–and some have met the same fate as Pizzeria Locale. In 2015, it closed all 15 locations of the fast-casual ShopHouse Asian Kitchen chain due to lagging sales. Chipotle also closed its one and only Tasty Made burger restaurant in Ohio in 2018 after deciding it wasn't economically viable to continue.
The popular Mexican chain's latest venture is Farmesa, a California eatery that specializes in bowls packed with proteins, greens, grains and vegetables.