The new Museum Place Mr. Gatti’s reintroduces the restaurant to Fort Worth — and stands as a revitalization of the brand.
A legend in the pizza business has returned to Fort Worth via a new flagship location at 3268 W. Seventh. Mr. Gatti’s has served up great pizza and fond memories for Texans for almost 50 years. Though the institution has opened almost 100 locations across the country, it has always called Texas home. Practically everyone can pleasantly recall birthday parties or a day out with the family, thanks to the pizza and atmosphere of a Mr. Gatti’s or GattiTown.
The first Mr. Gatti’s appeared in Austin in 1969. The creation of Mr. James Eure, it evolved from an original restaurant, The Pizza Place, which had opened in Stephenville in 1964. As the business flourished throughout the 80s and 90s, certain Mr. Gatti’s began to feature buffets and state-of-the-art arcades. The games became an even larger focus with the development of the GattiTown concept. Through it all, Gatti’s Pizza has always kept a tight focus on quality pizza and a family atmosphere.
The new Museum Place location stands as the first Gatti’s Pizza restaurant to feature the original “Mr. Gatti’s” name in many years. Not only does this location stand as the first Fort Worth location in recent memory, it marks the first step in Gatti’s Pizza’s new plans for expansion. Fort Worth will stay in the center of these plans, thanks to Gatti’s Pizza’s acquisition by a Fort Worth-based company, Sovrano LLC. We recently spoke with Michael Poates, President of Gatti’s Pizza, to learn more about this new endeavor.
What went into the choice of this W. Seventh location for the new Mr. Gatti’s flagship?
Gatti’s: Gatti’s corporate office is in close proximity, and provides great training for both corporate and franchise locations. The space also has enormous visibility through the museum district traffic, dense surrounding office space, and the nearby family neighborhood to drive the lunch traffic.
What elements of Mr. Gatti’s, whether the food, the nostalgia, the service, or the atmosphere, do you feel customers appreciate the most?
Gatti’s: The nostalgia and the food get the most attention. Every guest who comes in the door at Mr. Gatti’s seems to have a memory of “their” Mr. Gatti’s. They can tell us where the restaurant was located, what they used to eat, and share fond memories of their time at Mr. Gatti’s. The food is an instant flashback of flavor with our original recipes that have remained consistent for decades.
Why a return to the Mr. Gatti’s name? How does this concept differ from other Gatti’s restaurants?
Gatti’s: Mr. Gatti’s represents a return to the original restaurant concept of having your food made fresh the moment you order and then delivered to your table. Gatti’s Pizza is a buffet concept that often includes large game rooms and party rooms for birthday and group celebrations. As other brands chase the trends of the day or try to hop on the latest fad, Mr. Gatti’s Pizza is taking a different approach. We seek to define our future through a visit to our past and reconnection to its latency, at a time and place when the brand has optimal market share and name recognition.
Describe the menu. What informed your choices, and what has proven especially popular with customers?
Gatti’s: The Mr. Gatti’s menu, much of it prepared in a copper tiled, stone fired rotary deck oven, reintroduces the original Neapolitan-style pizza crust, original menu favorites, and new creations that are proving to be popular with our guests. Our dough, original pizza sauce, smoked Provolone cheese and scratch-made Ranch dressing are longtime favorites and very familiar to our fans. We have added to the menu selection to provide new choices such as Ginormous Meatballs, Chop Chop Salad, an assortment of flatbread pizzas, and gelato.
How does Mr. Gatti’s appeal to different age groups?
Gatti’s: Our goal in launching Mr. Gatti’s is to reconnect the brand to a loyal and passionate customer base that have now become parents. We hope to use that original consumer to introduce the brand to a new generation of guests. Since the introduction of new Mr. Gatti’s restaurants, we are hearing from guests who have great memories of Mr. Gatti’s from when they were kids, and who are excited about the ability to introduce their own children to one of their favorite childhood experiences.