"It's a similar approach to Moe's," explains Andrew, "but we plugged in pizza, salads and panini." But the owner understands the importance of quality and cites Chipotle's "food with integrity" motto as something that's been important to the burrito chain's growth.
"We took an all-scratch approach," he continues. "We're going for the wow-food factor. You don't have to package everything in bags and boxes. We can build up to 200 pizzas an hour, but you don't have to sacrifice quality."
Like many other fast-casual operations, customers can customize their orders and watch as each pizza is built and cooked. Uncle Maddio's offers three crust styles (white, whole wheat and gluten-free) in four sizes (including a kids' size) with six different sauces and over forty meat and vegetable toppings. There are also salads -- build-your-own or several signature mixes -- and toasted panini.
Andrew explains that he intentionally steered away from the current trend of wood-fired pizzas. "If you look at this country in terms of pizza, it's not wood-fired," he adds. "We didn't want to be in a niche business. They just don't have the throughput we needed."
Rather than hip or trendy, Andrew's goal is "a neighborhood pizza joint that has a warm feel but with modern decor. We want to be that neighborhood pizza joint."
Andrew notes that Colorado is an important location to the company and that he'd like to set up a regional office here as a base for expansion to other Western states. "Denver is one of those ideal fast-casual towns," says Andrew. "The Denver market has embraced this style of eating early on. We're big outdoor enthusiasts and love to play outside like Coloradans."
Uncle Maddio's is throwing a grand opening celebration tomorrow, with free nine-inchm three-topping pizzas for guests who come in between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.