Rotolo’s Pizzeria is set to open its new flagship restaurant next month near the South Gates of LSU. The revamped concept, called Rotolo’s Craft & Crust, will serve as a model for the company’s 31 locations.
“It’s back to our roots where we were with the original location,” says owner Mitch Rotolo. “We want to go back to that really cool culture of Rotolo’s from the 90s.”
As part of the rebrand, the new 4,500-square-foot Rotolo’s, on the corner of Burbank Drive and Ben Hur Road, will feature 40 draft beers, stone Italian ovens and a “slice bar” featuring fresh ingredients. Rotolo says he’ll release additional details about the concept before the restaurant’s planned Oct. 9 opening.
The other Rotolo’s locations—the company has three in Baton Rouge, along with several others throughout Texas, Mississippi and Alabama—will eventually adopt the new name, look and concept. The first to do so will be a new restaurant in Ruston, near the campus of Louisiana Tech University, which will open in February. Other locations, says Rotolo, will evolve as the company decides what changes work best.
The LSU-area restaurant is anchoring a new 16,000-square-foot retail center near three student apartment complexes. Rotolo and partner Jeffrey Byrd purchased the 2-acre plot last year for $1.5 million, putting themselves in the middle of a student housing boom in the Burbank area. Rouses Market is anchoring another retail development called Arlington Marketplace nearby.
Rotolo’s closed its Nicholson Drive restaurant in anticipation of the new location.
Among the other tenants in the new retail center are Spanky’s Daiquiris, Luxury Nails, Petel’s Family Dentistry and a national quick-service restaurant with a drive through. Rotolo declined to name the restaurant yet, and says he has two more retail spaces available.
“That area is growing. It’s our target audience,” he says. “We wanted to be right back where we started at the South Gates of LSU.”