Chicago Deep Dish More Popular Than Ever; New, Healthy Menu Options Spur Growth
BOSTON, Oct. 20 // PRNewswire // -- Turning 65 is a time to do two things: 1) Celebrate; 2) Look forward to the next 65!
That's the plan for Uno Chicago Grill® as it looks back on its beginnings in 1943 at the corner of Ohio Street and Wabash Avenue in Chicago, where Ike Sewell opened Pizzeria Uno®. It was the birthplace of the now-famous Chicago deep-dish pizza, and it gave rise to a popular restaurant chain that today includes 200 restaurants in 28 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.
"We have no plans to retire," said UNO® CEO Frank W. Guidara. "We continue to grow domestically with our two new quick serve concepts, Uno Express and Uno Due Go, and internationally with Uno Chicago Grill locations in Kuwait and Dubai.
"While we continue to develop our menu to offer guests greater choice of fabulous flavor and nutritious options, we'll never forget our roots as 'a pizza joint'. As far as we're concerned, we're 65 years young."
Sewell created the Chicago deep dish as a way to make sure hungry families could get a 'real meal' when it came to pizza. Up to that point, pizza was hardly more than a snack. As a result, Sewell opened Pizzeria Uno, a new and different kind of option for the Ohio and Wabash neighborhood. It grew so popular that he opened a second location, Pizzeria Due®, across the street in 1955. Thanks to the vision of businessman Aaron Spencer, he negotiated the right to expand the concept, which now boasts 200 locations worldwide. Part of the chain's enduring appeal has been its ability to remain relevant to consumers.
In 1994, UNO evolved from a local pizzeria to a full-fledged, casual-dining restaurant. That change was so successful that in 2003, the chain's name was altered to reflect the evolution of the concept, becoming Uno Chicago Grill. In 2005, UNO dramatically upgraded its menu to include a wider variety of creative, cutting-edge dishes and beverage offerings. That was followed two years later with the introduction of artificial- trans-fat-free offerings, which helped earn UNO the distinction of America's Healthiest Chain Restaurant(1).
Uno Chicago Grill is now synonymous with delicious foods that are fresh, handmade and house prepared. For example, UNO's famous dough is made fresh each and every day in every restaurant. Its flatbreads use all-natural crusts. In addition, the chain features Certified Angus Beef®, whole-grain pasta and shade-grown gourmet coffee.
The brand recently expanded into the fast-casual and quick-serve market segments with the introduction of Uno Due Go® and Uno Express® respectively. Both concepts pave the way for further expansion of the UNO brand in a variety of exciting new venues such as airports, college campuses, sports arenas, malls, hospitals, and urban centers.
Today, the food, fun and celebration roll on. Americans consume 4.4 million UNO deep-dish pizzas every year; which is enough to feed the entire population of Ireland! Each year, UNO customers consume enough mozzarella cheese to create nearly 10 Boeing 747 commercial airplanes, including its 400 passengers -- a fact we know because UNO, along with DHL and Pizzas 4 Patriots, currently has the distinction of hosting the world's largest pizza party (Guinness Book of World Records). We flew over 28,000 pizzas to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on July 4, 2009. UNO also uses enough sauce each year to fill an entire Olympic-sized pool and enough sliced pepperoni to leave a trail from the restaurant's birthplace in Chicago to its current corporate headquarters in Boston.
"We're proud of our 65-year heritage of handcrafted, deep-dish pizza, which is the foundation of everything we do," Guidara said. "When you combine our heritage of deep-dish pizza with our broad array of delicious, healthy fare, it's easy to see why the UNO brand continues to grow both here and abroad."
Based in Boston, Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation includes 200 company-owned and franchised full-service Uno Chicago Grill units located in 28 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The company also operates a fast casual concept called Uno Due Go®, a quick serve concept called Uno Express®, and a consumer foods division which supplies airlines, movie theaters, hotels, airports, travel plazas, schools and supermarkets with both frozen and refrigerated private-label foods and branded Uno products. For more information, visit www.unos.com.
(1) Health magazine, April, 2008
SOURCE Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation