Russo's Restaurants Targets Regional Growth throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas

Authentic Italian Fast-Casual Pizzeria and Refined Coal-Fired Kitchen Concepts Initiate Strategic Expansion Plan

HOUSTON - March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ - Russo's Restaurants, the family of dining concepts that includes Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, announced today plans to significantly enhance the brands' footprint in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, all of which have a current Russo's presence.

Evidencing the excitement around both brands, Russo's kicked off 2014 with the opening of the company's first Hawaii location in Ewa Beach. An additional 12-15 restaurants are planned to open during the remainder of the year throughout markets like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Currently, there are 25 Russo's Restaurants in development.

"We've exceeded our growth goals," said Chef Anthony Russo, a formally trained chef who opened his first Russo's New York Pizzeria in 1992 and later developed Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. "Russo's expansion just cannot be contained, and we are pleased to provide our loyal fans with additional Russo's locations in these three lucrative growth markets."

Today's news comes on the heels of an extraordinary year for Russo's Restaurants. In 2013, Russo's signed agreements to open four new restaurants and opened six. The year ahead represents the brand's most aggressive growth phase yet.

"We have carefully selected Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas for continued growth," said Russo. "Russo's Restaurants can be found in many major Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas cities, and we are excited to expand our footprint even further."

With a significant presence already established in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Russo's franchise development team is looking to El Paso, Lubbock, Tyler, Denton, McAllen, Fort Worth, Midland and Odessa for growth in Texas, as well as Greater Tulsa, Greater Oklahoma City and Greater Little Rock in the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

"Our franchise opportunities can't be beat - we have exciting opportunities in profitable U.S. markets for franchise growth," said Alfred Naddaff, Russo's director of franchise development. "For those looking to develop three or more units of one of the best pizza concepts or a distinctive full-service Italian restaurant, our flexible incentives are sure to impress. Our pilot program is designed for a franchisee that is looking for the chance to own part of a brand that is built to stand the test of time – a pair of proven concepts."

Franchisees have found success in Russo's proven concepts – the New York Pizzeria is family-style casual, and the Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen is a bit more upscale full-service concept.

"Russo's has made a huge splash in Conway," said Ben Allen, the owner of a Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen outside of Little Rock, Ark. "We couldn't have done it without the top-notch training program, ongoing franchisor support and the convenience of tapping into Russo's resources and proven concepts. The positive response from our community has been overwhelming – there is virtually nothing like it here, and our guests love the "wow" factor we deliver with every plate of delicious, homemade Italian food."

From traditional Italian appetizers like bruschetta and fried calamari to coal-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and an impressively authentic Italian dessert selection, diners at the New York Pizzeria run an average of $23 per check. Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen guests spend an average of $42 per check.

"I have prior restaurant ownership know-how, but I have never had as positive of an experience in the restaurant business as I have had with Russo's," said Guillermo Medellin, who owns a Russo's New York Pizzeria in Houston. "It's been going extremely well – so well, in fact, that I'm in the process of opening another Russo's in the Houston area. The franchising team has been incredibly supportive of this process."

Menu innovation is at the heart of Russo's Restaurants' successes. Blending generations of Russo family Italian recipes, Chef Anthony's handpicked ingredients and a commitment to research and development, the brands have continued to stay ahead of culinary trends. A prime example is the development of a full line of gluten free pizzas – a sincere response to the request for the great-tasting gluten-free pizza from thousands living with Celiac disease.

Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen trace their origins to a tight-knit family where the kitchen was the center of all activity. As a young child, Chef Anthony helped his grandmother roll dough for cannoli, carefully wrapping it around four-inch wooden broomsticks to get the right shape before it cooked. By the age of 12 Anthony was learning authentic Italian recipes. Earning the Chef's distinction as an 18-year-old, Anthony honed his skills as a culinary expert working in his parent's fine Italian restaurant and then opened his own pizzeria while still a young man.

The Russo's name has become synonymous with authentic Italian meals. Beyond the brand's specialty New York-style pizzas, menu items include fresh salads (insalata), soups (zuppe) and homemade pastas. Authentic Italian cannoli, fresh seafood, chicken, veal and flatbread sandwiches are just some of the distinctive dishes on the menu.

About Russo's Restaurants

Presenting a true New York-style pizza tradition, Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen live by a family promise that dates back more than half a century, "If it isn't fresh, don't serve it." This motto has served Russo's Restaurants well since founder Anthony Russo opened his first pizzeria more than two decades ago. The brand's success has inspired the launch a number of successful franchises, and today more than 30 Russo's restaurants are operating and dozens more are expected to open in the next three to five years. The concept has gained recognition for its remarkably fresh food and the affordable price of menu options. Preparation of pure ingredients and the execution of memorable Italian food keep customers coming back for more. Chef Anthony's commitment to maintaining the freshest products insures that all customers who walk through the door, irrespective of which Russo's location, receive the bona fide Russo's experience.

For more information about Russo's Restaurants, contact Alfred Naddaff at (713) 821-1321 or visit

Media Contact:

Amy Lecza
Russo's Restaurants
847-897-7470 x. 482

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Russo's New York Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen »

Russo’s Restaurants is a 46 location national and international franchisor of the fast casual and casual dining brands Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen. Based in Houston, Russo’s Restaurants are composed of a mix of...


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