Dubbed the “Chipotle of Pizzerias,” Red Tomado is serving wood-fired pizzas from its first location on Church Street.
The new restaurant, which opened earlier this month, serves wood-fired pizzas that are made through an assembly line. Customers choose their own ingredients, then watch as each selection is added to their pizza, starting with five different sauces and moving to a variety of toppings and cheeses.
“Everything is visible to the customers,” head chef and restaurant owner Dominick Mirabile said. “You can see us from when we’re stretching your dough, all the way until we’re putting your pizza in the oven. We’re a very different place than most pizzerias.”
He added that his goal is to provide good customer service while serving sustainable meals in a “fast gourmet environment.”
Red Tomado opened three weeks ago, and has recently announced plans to expand to other cities in Connecticut and New York. Its location next to Buffalo Wild Wings, at 72 Church St., is accessible to both Yale students and New Haven locals.
Mirabile said he chose New Haven as a starting point because he wanted to introduce his product in a city where customers already have high expectations for pizza.
“We wanted to show customers that we could start our first store where pizza was given birth,” he said. “If we could be successful here, we could be successful anywhere.”
Red Tomado is the latest among a growing number of restaurants in New Haven that offer quick, fresh meals prepared in an assembly line. This model exists in local restaurants such as Chick-Lets, Mediterranean grill Pitaziki, the two Tikkaway Grills and Chipotle.
Student brand manager for Chipotle Monica Chen ’15, who markets Chipotle to Yale students, said she thought this model fulfills a growing demand.
“I think the popularity of quick service restaurants like Chipotle is a national, if not global, trend,” she said. “There’s this desire people have to play a role in constructing their own meals nowadays, even when eating out, and businesses like Chipotle or Red Tomado really make that happen.”
Mirabile echoed this sentiment, noting that Red Tomado customers like that they can get quick meals without compromising quality.
The restaurant’s pizza oven is custom-made from Italy and can heat an 11-inch pizza in 90 seconds. On average, said Mirabile, making a pizza takes only about two to three minutes, allowing for fast and efficient service.
For Yale students, an affordable pizza option could be a welcome addition to the local restaurant scene. Gabrielle Roberts ’18, who ate at the restaurant yesterday, said Red Tomado fills a void in New Haven’s restaurant scene.
“I feel like there are two types of restaurants around here: the really good but pricey ones, and the quicker, more casual ones,” Roberts said. “The second type isn’t often done with pizza, but it can be really convenient for a lot of students.”
Prices on Red Tomado’s menu range from $5.75 for a classic pizza to $9.25 for the clam pizza. For customized pizzas, customers can choose between a traditional crust, a pizza bowl or a calzone, and then pay extra per topping.