Lou Malnati's, the maker of some of Chicago's greatest deep dish pizza, is expanding outside of the Chicago area for the first time next year -- all the way to Phoenix, Arizona.
In an announcement Tuesday, the family-owned pizza empire said the new location will open in May of 2016 at 100 E. Camelback Rd., Suite 152 in the Uptown Plaza Shopping Center in Phoenix. Work on the new restaurant, which will seat 240 people and offer delivery, is just starting now, which means you've got ample time to prepare your body for all the cheese and butter crust.
While Phoenix is a long way from Chicago, Lou's promises the pizza will taste the same.
"We have gone to great lengths to ensure our pizza will taste just as it does in Chicago – that means bringing core ingredients like our cheese, our tomatoes, and of course our secret dough recipe from Chicago to our new kitchens in Arizona," the company said. "Five members of our management team have volunteered to permanently relocate to Arizona."
The Arizona location will add to Lou Malnati's 42 locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, but there's a chance more could come.
"If we're successful with the first one, let's just keep it rolling," Lou Malnati's CEO Marc Malnati told Crain's Chicago Business. "For most of my career, I've said, 'No. No. No. We're Chicago.' We are still Chicago, but you know, we see a real opportunity here." In fact, much of the company's sales of frozen pizza ship to Arizona and the greater Phoenix-Scottsdale area, where there's a significant population of former of Chicagoans, according to the report. Lou's is also eyeing areas in Texas, California, and Florida, which also rank high in frozen pizza sales.
Chicagoan or not, who doesn't enjoy a hulking slice of deep dish? Oh, wait.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and enjoy some Lou's on a recent visit to Chicago. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.