After a long, protracted, and ultimately tragic journey, California pizza chain Project Pie has pulled out of Dallas, closing its branches on Greenville Avenue and in Preston Center.
A statement from the company confirmed it, saying, "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to close the two Project Pies in Dallas, Texas." The restaurants closed on March 13.
Project Pie first put Dallas on its wish list in early 2014, aiming to bring its own version of Neapolitan-style pizza to a region that was woefully short on good pizza. Still a nascent chain, it opened its first branch in Dallas in Preston Center in fall 2014, at 6030 Luther Ln.
Project Pie is one of the handful of new chains that follow "the Chipotle of pizza" idea wherein diners go through a Chipotle-style line and specify toppings. Pizzas cook in three minutes or less in an 800-degree oven fired by gas. The menu has nine pre-designed pizza options, all for under $8, along with a couple of salads and desserts.
Other players that have opened in Dallas-Fort Worth include Pie Five, Pizza Snob, Blaze, and Spin.
Project Pie was founded by pizza guru James Markham, who's created a number of pizza concepts, including Knockout and Pieology. But its fortunes have not flourished under the wing of Papa Murphy's, which divested its interests in the chain in 2015.
While the Preston Center outlet opened in a timely manner, the Greenville Avenue branch was under construction for seemingly forever, and did not open until November 2015. Its last Facebook post, the telltale sign, was for Valentine's Day. Some residents in the area didn't even know it was open. And a branch slated for the SMU area never opened.