Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez to open Pudge’s Pizza at El Distrito
El Distrito entertainment complex will be filled with the taste of the Major Leagues with the opening of Pudge’s Pizza, the gastronomic offering by Baseball Hall of Fame Catcher, Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez, Federico Stubbe, Jr. president of PRISA Group, developer of the complex announced.
Stubbe explained that his company acquired the rights to the Pudge’s Pizza concept for Puerto Rico, the first location outside of Texas where it will operate. The 1,300 square-foot eatery is decorated with sporting memorabilia alluding to Rodríguez’s career, and will offer a modern and family-friendly environment.
PRISA Group invested $750,000 to bring the restaurant that will generate 20 jobs once it opens in April 2020. El Distrito entertainment complex is slated to open during the first quarter of next year.
“We’re proud to have one of the most recognized Puerto Rican athletes in El Distrito’s line-up of gastronomic offers,” said Stubbe. “Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez is a sports icon, a Hall of Famer in every way, besides being a friend and a great human being. With Pudge’s Pizza, Iván and El Distrito will hit it out of the park.”
This is the second restaurant that Rodríguez inaugurates after opening his first franchise operation in Arlington, Texas at Texas Live! in August 2018.
“It’s an honor to be part of El Distrito, a combination of entertainment and experiences offerings right here in my island, where my family and roots are, and where my heart has always been,” Rodríguez said.
“Opening my restaurant here at home will allow me to share with my fans, my friends and family, as well as contribute to the growth of the island,” he said. “El Distrito will be a world-class attraction and I am grateful to be part of this project that generates jobs and boosts economic growth when it is most needed.”
Pudge’s Pizza’s gastronomic offer includes a wide variety of pizzas, an exclusive menu created by Iván himself and a variety of special dishes that bear names that pay homage to his roots.
For example, the “Vega Baja” includes shredded chicken, BBQ pizza sauce, red onion, cheddar, mozzarella and coriander; “20-20” features buffalo style chicken, red onion, bacon, blue cheese and buffalo hot sauce; and the “Texas Slinger” also includes a variety of spiced chicken, hot refried beans, red onion, chipotle honey sauce and three cheeses.
Now, the restaurant is developing new offerings with Puerto Rican flavor, Rodríguez said.
In addition to the main dining hall, Pudge’s Pizza will feature a window for express service for those who prefer “a slice of pizza before going to the movies or a show or ordering the entire pizza to go. At Pudge’s Pizza, everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy their pizza as they prefer,” said Abelardo Ruiz, managing director of El Distrito.
Rodríguez, a native of Manatí and raised in Vega Baja, is the winner of 13 Golden Glove Awards through his career at the Majors, which began in 1991 when he debuted as a receiver of the Texas Rangers.
During his career, he also played for the Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2017 and after his retirement, he entered the food and beverage business with a concept of original, varied pizza recipes and craft beer.