Pizza Fusion Opens First West Coast Restaurant in San Diego

America's most eco-friendly restaurant chain opens San Diego's first LEED certified restaurant, featuring an organic beer and wine bar

August 06, 2008 // Franchising.com // San Diego, Calif., – Pizza Fusion (www.pizzafusion.com), the most environmentally sustainable restaurant in America, opened their first West Coast restaurant in San Diego this last week in the Hillcrest neighborhood at 3827 5th Avenue, with other locations throughout California, Nevada and Arizona on the way. The restaurant, upon receiving certification from the USGBC, will be San Diego's first ever LEED certified restaurant. San Diego is the second location of Pizza Fusion's national expansion to open outside their home state of Florida, following the opening of their Pittsburgh, Pa. restaurant in April. Entrepreneurial duo Mike and Nicole Walker are the franchisees behind Pizza Fusion's new San Diego location.

"We're very excited to introduce the West Coast to Pizza Fusion's industry leading approach to earth friendly restaurant service and commitment to serving high quality organic food," Mike explains. "Our first week of service was warmly received by San Diego residents and we're looking forward to building a loyal following of likeminded customers."

Walker's San Diego store is the first of five locations to open this year in California, including Temecula, Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo, and Clovis. Pizza Fusion, whose motto is 'Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time,' practices an eco-friendly approach to their entire existence, including their restaurants' buildout, service and overall operations. Through building only LEED certified restaurants, delivering their food in company owned hybrid vehicles, and offsetting 100% of their power consumption with the purchase of renewable energy certificates (among many other things), Pizza Fusion is setting the standard for sustainable restaurant practices as the most eco-friendly restaurant in America. Currently, the company has over 75 restaurants opening in 15 states across the U.S., including California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kansas, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

"We're very excited and proud to branch out to the California market as some might consider it the hub of the United States' green movement," Vaughan Lazar, CEO and co-founder of Pizza Fusion, continues. "Having personally spent the first week of our West Coast operations in San Diego, I got to witness the interest and demand for organic restaurant service first hand. Pizza Fusion San Diego is a beautiful restaurant situated in a cultured area of San Diego where residents are already warming up to the delicious taste of our organic menu. Furthermore, it's a good fit with the city's already robust portfolio of organic restaurants."

Pizza Fusion is the only restaurant chain in America to build all their restaurants to LEED certification standards; featuring a number of cutting-edge, eco-efficient products, techniques and designs, such as eliminating the use of water heaters by recycling heat from their ovens to heat the water in their restaurants. Pizza Fusion restaurants' other eco-elements include countertops made from 100% recycled detergent bottles, bamboo flooring, 30% recaptured industrial concrete, ceiling panels made from 74% recycled aluminum cans and 24% post industrial metals, USG Gypsum Board made from pre-used drywall, insulation made from recycled blue jeans, ceiling baffles made from recycled composite board, low voltage and low heat lighting, seat cushions made with soybean oil, furniture made from reclaimed wood and much more – all the way down to the 100 percent post consumer toilet paper in their bathrooms.

Born and raised in Park City, Utah, Mike Walker moved to San Diego in 2003 with his San Diego native wife, Nicole. Prior to Pizza Fusion, Mike served two terms with the United States Marines in Iraq from 1999 to 2007. Nicole has a Bachelor's in Psychology from Cal State San Marcos. Both are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy snowboarding, surfing, backpacking, rock climbing, and scuba diving.

About LEED Certification

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™, established by the United States Green Building council, is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

About Pizza Fusion

Founded in February of 2006, Pizza Fusion leads a new niche market by combining an eclectic organic menu with a detail-oriented environmental business approach in chic LEED certified fast casual environments. Pizza Fusion serves and organic menu of gourmet pizzas, ciabatta sandwiches, salads, desserts, beers, wines and more in their purest form - untainted by artificial additives, such as sweeteners, pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics and hormones. They also offer health conscious alternatives for people with selective diets and food allergies, including gluten-free, vegan and lactose-free options. For additional information, visit: www.pizzafusion.com

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