“Pizzas de Cuaresma”: Texas chain offers special pizzas for Lent

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about Wendy’s suddenly ubiquitous fish sandwich comes this story about a Dallas pizza chain offering vegetarian pizzas as a way to battle what has become an annual Lenten slump in sales:

The folks at Pizzeria Patron have nothing against Catholicism, really, but every year, starting after Ash Wednesday and continuing till Easter, sales across the chain have traditionally dipped 4 percent as people give up meat for Lent.

Enter its “Pizzas de Cuaresma” campaign, which promotes the Spinach Clasico pizza (spinach with a cheese cream sauce) and La Vegetariana (a veggie number crowned with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and olives). Both Pizzas are available for $6.99 and come with a side of absolution. That’s 89.80 pesos at today’s exchange rates.

The company’s press release has more:

Lent, or “Cuaresma” in Spanish, refers to the season of the forty days and is the Christian observance involving fasting and abstinence for the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Today, most Catholics observe Lent, as well as members of many other Christian denominations.

“The majority of our guests are Hispanic and prefer to speak Spanish in our restaurants, and a significant number of those are Catholic,” said Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patron. “Cuaresma is an important time of year for our brand because it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate what makes Pizza Patron different from other pizza chains and it allows us to stay close to the heart of our heavily Catholic customer base.”

According to the 2009 National Survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center, a majority (60%) of Hispanics identify themselves as Catholic and two-thirds (67%) of Spanish-dominant young Latinos say they are Catholic.

UPDATE: A reader alerted me to yet another canny bit of Lenten marketing, from Cincinnati’s famous Skyline Chili:


  1. Henry Karlson says:

    They should offer a cheeseless pizza and then we might be talking.

  2. Ya gotta love “Both pizzas . . . come with a side of absolution.”

  3. And less than one third of so called “Latinos” go to Sunday mass. I am a “Latino” which as a way to lump together all people from Spanish and Portuguese ancestry, even though French, Italians and even Romanians should qualify as “Latinos” since the main commonality among all these nationalities is the Romance languages they speak, all direct descendants of Latin. Latinos come in all races, nationalities, ethnic groups and nationalities.

  4. Can’t speak about other parts of the country but in Philly region–and in my family – pizza is staple for Friday’s during Lent. It’s a live option for lunch and dinner and most such places are very busy on Friday’s in lent.

    ( we don’t have many fish fry’s as I have seen in Wisconsin – where they track such with the passion they track the ‘daily specials’ at the custard stand

  5. I remember reading a few years ago about a pizza establishment that advertised a special on Fridays in Lent – lobster pizza. I think it was in Brooklyn – some penance. For me a penance would be anchovy pizza.

    P.S. Joe Cleary, I have just moved from Florida back to the Philadelphia area where I grew up. There’s no place like home.

  6. Interesting, HMS! One of the local supermarket flyers last weekend had a page of “Lenten specials” that featured lobster, shrimp, crab, and sea bass! As you said, “some penance”. What happened to tuna noodle casserole and pasta with marinara sauce?

    As for pizza, I prefer it without any kind of meat, so pizza in Lent is not a problem for me. We’re having an open house for prospective grad students here (I teach at a University) in a couple of weeks on a Friday and the lunch will be pizza. I sent a note to the office manager to make sure a couple of them are plain cheese or mushrooms and peppers for the vegetarians and Lent-observers among us. She will comply.


  7. Look for the Obama administration to try to stop this caving in to religion. Probably will see Michelle Obama coming out that this does not meet the new mandates for what we can eat.

  8. I think there are plenty of reasons (and blame to go around!) for why less than a third of Latinos go to Sunday Mass, and if that statistic is accurate then Catholics in general in the U.S. aren’t much better anyways (according stats at this page: http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html, weekly attendance among U.S Catholics in 2011 was 22%).

    “Latino” in this context is short for “Latinoamericano” or “Latin American” as I think most people realize. Like many umbrella terms of convenience it is not 100% satisfactory but until something better comes along it will be continued to be used in this country for people of Ibero-american cultural background, but by all means feel free to use “Latino” when talking about Romanians or Rumansch speakers in the Engadine Valley of Switzerland.

    There’s a KFC in my area that offered a fish sandwich special during Lent last year. My only gripe with the ad is that they used the word “spinach” instead of the perfectly common word “espinacas”.

  9. Welcome back home HMS!

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