For any pizza lover living not only in metro Phoenix but the entirety of the American Southwest, there is a significant lacking of alternate pizza styles. California-style pizza has played a major role here in The Valley, with the majority of restaurants serving thin-crust pizza, many of which use minimal marinara, or the sauce is swapped out entirely for olive oil. However, for transplants, snowbirds, and others looking for greater variety in their pizza, good news is coming their way.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is a Chicago-based pizza house specializing in Chicago-style pizza. Chicago style is a thicker pan pizza, with a significantly thicker crust designed to support the mountain of sauce, cheese (the sauce is applied above the cheese, and other toppings added. Whereas a California or even New York-style pizza can be baked inside a stone oven, the thickness of Chicago-style pizza requires a fully enclosed oven.
And now, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is expanding its brand here in The Valley, as it opens a new location in Gilbert. Located at 311 South Val Vista Drive, the 1,800 square-foot restaurant won’t be massive. The square footage will dwarf it when compared to some other pizza restaurants in town, but it will be one of only a handful of Chicago-style pizzerias anywhere in the Phoenix metro area.
As of right now, plans are to focus specifically on delivery and carry-out. It will be similar to its Mesa and Arcadia locations, both of which do not have inside dining room space. As pizza delivery and takeout orders skyrocketed during the forced closure of restaurants due to the pandemic, many new pizza restaurants have started to follow a similar design structure. Instead of paying for indoor eating space that could possibly be closed down again in the future, these restaurants are focusing entirely on delivery and takeout.
For anyone that enjoys the Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria pizza and does want to get out of the house for dinner, the Scottsdale and Phoenix locations do function as full-service restaurants.
Lou Malnati’s is one of a handful of popular Chicago establishments that have made the move out to Arizona. With a growing population of former Midwestern residents, this trend will likely continue. Even Steve Stone, the former Major League Baseball pitcher, who now actively calls Chicago White Sox games during the season, calls The Valley home.
The new pizza restaurant is now in the process of hiring staff members, with the goal of around 50 new workers desired. For anyone interested in working for the pizza restaurant, they are welcome to submit applications on the company website.