When Rick Petrone and his business partner Tony Rufo were looking for a spot to open their first restaurant, Crisp Kitchen, they thought there was no better place than Temple.
Last Tuesday, Crisp Kitchen joined a long line of food options at Temple, a community Petrone says they are proud and excited to be a part of.
“We know Temple is exploding right now in everything,” Petrone said. “We immediately saw [the location] and fell in love with it. You’ve got students above and people walking up and down so we thought it was a great location.”
The new eatery, which sits under The View at Montgomery among national chains Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Chipotle Mexican Grill, is one of two new eateries to open on campus this month.
Blaze Pizza, which has more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada, will open Thursday and celebrate with a free pizza day on Friday.
Both restaurants have a mission of using fresh, homemade ingredients and offer a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices—a trend Petrone said he sees growing in the industry.
Crisp Kitchen will cater to the customers’ desire for healthy, freshly-prepared options, Petrone said, with more than six choices of salads, stir-fry dishes like Fiery Garlic Sriracha and Plum Hoisin and fro-yo.
All meats served at the restaurant are also antibiotic free, he said.
“I really like that they have stir-fry, that’s something I can’t get at many other places on campus,” said Mackenzie Feeley, a senior social work major. “I actually got to taste test the stir-fry for free a couple days ago and really liked it so I decided to come back.”
Blaze Pizza is also excited to join the Philadelphia community with the opening. The store’s design will highlight the city, featuring the Philadelphia skyline and graphics representing the university.
Traditional and eccentric pizza lovers will have many options to choose from, with creations like Art Lover, an artichoke, mozzarella, ricotta, chopped garlic and red sauce pizza, and Veg Out, a vegetarian pizza with mushrooms, zucchinis, red onions, mozzarella and gorgonzola.
One of the most important goals of the shop is reducing the wait time in making pizza from scratch. An open-flame oven, which is the centerpiece of the restaurant, turns out pies in less than 180 seconds—making it easier for students on the go to pick up a slice.
“Our mission at Blaze is really simple—we’re taking pizza back to its roots,” Jim Mizes, president and COO of Blaze, said in a press release. “By making the dough in house, carefully sourcing ingredients and cooking by fire, we’re giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait. It’s changing the way people think about and eat pizza.”
By opening his first location of Crisp Kitchen just off Main Campus, Petrone said he hopes to get a taste of what young people are hungry for, though he recognizes not everyone will want a salad every day.
“There’s so many choices,” Petrone said. “Some days you’ll want pizza and other days you’ll want something else, but you want lots of options—especially on a college campus with a mix and a diverse group here.”
Alexa Bricker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.