‘Latino-Focused’ Pizza Chain, Pizza Patrón to Open Three Locations in Tucson

A new pizza chain is coming to Tucson — this time with a Mexican twist.

Local entrepreneur George Wise signed a development agreement for three new Pizza Patrón stores in Tucson. The first location is looking to make its debut in early 2017.

The pizza chain offers 93 locations nationwide with 11 in Arizona alone.

“We have a loyal following in Arizona and are excited to announce the coming of three new stores to Tucson,” Vice President of Business Development Victor Vazquez said.

“We’re extremely happy to partner with Mr. Wise, a local seasoned businessman who will do an exceptional job of expanding our brand while serving his local community,” Vazquez said.

Because Pizza Patrón puts an emphasis on Mexican culture, most of their locations currently reside in Hispanic neighborhoods.

And although Pizza Patrón doesn’t have any locations set in Tucson quite yet, the pizza chain will likely be located in south Tucson.

“We are a Latino-focused brand,” Vazquez said. “South Tucson is the focus.”

Once a lease is secured for the locations, it’s estimated that the stores will open 6-10 weeks later. This puts a potential open date for sometime in early 2017.

“We’re just excited to bring the brand to Tucson,” Vazquez said. “We’re very popular in Phoenix, and the food scene is growing in Tucson, so it just made a lot of sense for us.”

The pizza chain offers Mexican-inspired pizza recipes, which once included the Frijolera, a black bean pizza, and the 2014 special La Chingona which was a jalapeño-infused pepperoni pizza. Unfortunately, these pizzas are no longer offered, but many other pizza options are available.

(Credit: Pizza Patrón)

(Credit: Pizza Patrón)

Popular menu items include:

  • La Mexicana — Mozzarella cheese, green peppers, red onions, ground beef, jalapeños, and chorizo
  • La Choriquezo — Spicy ranch sauce, mozzarella cheese, red onions, and chorizo sausage
  • Chicken Bacon Clasico — Creamy alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, grilled chicken, and bacon

The restaurant also offers traditional-style pizzas, including cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian, and supreme options. More than anything, the history and brand identity of the company is what classifies Pizza Patrón as a “Latino-focused” pizza company.

As stated on the Pizza Patrón website, “Pizza Patrón is a unique and highly focused brand, which has carved out its own niche in the pizza industry by positioning itself as the premier Mexican pizza brand. The Patrón experience is about enriching American life with Mexican culture.”

Antonio Swad started the pizza business in 1986. Swad is also the founder of Wingstop, however, he sold the popular wing chain in 2003 to focus on Pizza Patrón.

Pizza Patrón originally opened under the name Pizza Pizza, but the store established a strong connection with the Hispanic community soon after.

The restaurant became a comfortable place for Spanish-speakers — where they didn’t run into a language or cultural barrier. The company’s name was later changed to Pizza Patrón to reflect a focus on Mexican culture.

By 2003, Pizza Patrón established the slogan, mas pizza, menos dinero  Spanish for more pizza, less money.

In addition to the slogan, Pizza Patrón Executive Vice President Andrew Gamm wanted to create a logo with the face of a “Latin James Bond” that “men wanted to be and women wanted to be with.” Frank Sinatra ended up being the primary inspiration behind the person in the logo.

(Credit: Pizza Patrón)

(Credit: Pizza Patrón)

Besides the existing locations in Phoenix, you may have heard of Pizza Patrón for a couple reasons.

In 2007, the restaurant made national headlines for their Pizza Por Pesos program, which is exactly what you think — the restaurant not only accepts United States dollars, but also accepts pesos at every location.

They also gained media attention in 2012 with their Pizza Por Favor promotion, which provided free pizzas to everyone who ordered in Spanish.

Now, the main focus is on “friendly, bicultural service.”

Look forward to visiting the three new restaurants in Tucson soon.

For more information, visit pizzapatron.com.

Gloria Knott was Tucson Foodie's 2016 journalism and social media intern.

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