New York City is known as the “country’s most opinionated pizza market.” With its high rent prices and vast amount of competition, there are many obstacles one must overcome if they decide to open up a pizza store in the infamous city. This year, many chefs and store owners are trying to introduce “chipotle style” make-your-own pizza places into New York City’s competitive environment. The idea of a chipotle style pizza joint is not uncommon, or even new, in the United States. This genre of restaurants has been operating in many cities such as Washington, DC and Los Angeles but it is not until this year that these types of pizza places are being integrated into the New York City restaurant culture.
In the year 2013, Michael Lastoria opened “&pizza” in Washington DC. Lastoria decided that if his business was successful enough for him to be able to open a NYC location, he would get an “&” symbol tattooed on his body. Four years later, &pizza has finally opened up its first Manhattan location as one of New York City’s first “chipotle style” pizza restaurants.
Many people have invested millions of dollars in up-and-coming pizza stores, but often times these have not been successful. Lastoria says that one issue that emerges when trying to open up a pizza store is that “They’re all very similar.” It is important for owners of these pizza restaurants to innovate and stand out. It is interesting to wonder about what the future of New York City pizza has in store and how owners will differentiate their stores from those of others in 2017.