WHEN THE MOON HITS YOUR EYES
Hot Californian pizza chain eyes Austin for major expansion
It's not just you. Californians are so hot for Texas right now. The state's exploding population makes it a golden goose for any chain looking to carve its niche. No wonder Sacramento-based Pizza Guys is champing at the bit to enter the Lone Star market.
Via release, the company announced plans to open almost 200 locations in Texas' major metropolises — including 23 stores in the Austin area. Though Pizza Guys didn't divulge the targeted locations, it is rapidly recruiting potential local franchisees.
Operating at a similar price point to Papa John's and Pizza Hut, Pizza Guys promises pies made with whole milk mozzarella, daily-made dough, and sauce made from fresh-packed Californian tomatoes. However, the restaurant sets itself apart with an array of specialty pizzas.
Although pepperoni is on the menu, the chain digs deep into the pantry for varieties like Artichoke Fiesta — a garden vegetable pie by way of a taco salad. Other offerings include chipotle chicken, curry chicken, serrano chili, a couple of choices using Impossible vegan beef, and Texas Barbecue. (See? So Obsessed!) Customers can also customize their toppings on various crusts or, seasonally, on an amorous heart-shaped pie.
"Customizable restaurant options have become exponentially more popular since customers prefer the autonomy of creating what they're craving over ordering the same thing," CEO and co-founder Shahpour Nejad explains via a release.
In addition to the pizzas, the chain offers flatbreads and the usual mix of accompaniments like wings, cheesy bread, salads, and pasta. Stores will also have the opportunity to double as ghost kitchens under the company's Pizza Piatta and Calzone Life.
Piatta specializes in flatbread pies, including a saucy selection striped with the colors of the Italian flag. The marketing is a little more upscale, with its condiments presented as "sauce pesto, sauce marinara, and sauce ranch." Switching the usual order of descriptions is the most efficient route to fanciness. Just ask Parfums de Couer.
Calzone Life, which would look fetching as an Old English tattoo, serves up gorgeous latticework pies in flavors mostly named after Californian towns. Santa Monica inspires a chicken riff with taco seasoning and cilantro, while Monterey is fond of Franks RedHot Buffalo sauce.
It's still to be determined when locals can try Pizza Guys. The chain is aggressively recruiting early franchise adopters with generous sign-on discounts. Once the expansion plans are realized, it will give the company a bigger brand presence than many homegrown franchises such as Pizza Patrón and Mr. Gatti's.