Perhaps in an effort to get out of the cold, iconic Chicago chain Lou Malnati's Pizzeria is heading to the warmer weather of Arizona. The deep-dish purveyor has announced plans to open a Phoenix restaurant in spring 2016. It will be the first location outside the state of Illinois. In an effort to ensure quality and authenticity, a large Lou's staff will move from Chicago to Phoenix, and the company is somehow replicating the Windy City's water.
"Our people and our ingredients are the foundation of our business," owner Marc Malnati said in a prepared statement. "By bringing in a strong team from Chicago, who are committed to relocating permanently, we have the leadership we need. As for our ingredients, we are doing everything possible to ensure the product will taste just as it does is in Chicago, but we are particularly focused on our dough. We have spent a considerable amount that will replicate Chicago’s water in Phoenix."
Lou's doesn't have plans to expand to other states at this time, but if all goes well more restaurants could open in Arizona. Malnati tells Eater the Phoenix outpost, which is company owned, makes sense: "We ship a lot of pizzas to Arizona through our e-commerce business and the Valley is filled with Chicago expats, so it was a natural choice for us."
The first Lou Malnati's Pizzeria restaurant opened in 1971, and 42 are currently in operation throughout the Chicago area.