Pizza Fusion Opens Its Doors in Naperville

America's most environmentally-friendly restaurant brings organic pizza to Chicago area

March 19, 2009 // Franchising.com // Naperville, Ill., - Pizza Fusion, pioneer of the environmental and organic restaurant movements, opened its doors in Naperville on Friday at 2555 E. 75th St #125, Naperville, IL 60540. Pizza Fusion resides one block east of Route 59, next to Whole Foods in the Springbrook Prairie Pavilion - the first retail development in Du Page County to pursue LEED Silver Certification. Additionally, Pizza Fusion is a registered LEED project (http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/Project/RegisteredProjectListDetail.aspx?ID=10324217) with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Entrepreneur Tom Katsenos is the eco-entrepreneur behind Pizza Fusion's new Chicagoland location.

"Being in the restaurant business my entire life, I was attracted to Pizza Fusion's combination of socially responsible restaurant service and delicious organic menu," Katsenos explains. "Serving people is a joy for me. Now I can do this is while contributing to the preservation of this precious planet of ours. I invite all Chicagoans to stop by Pizza Fusion to taste a unique take on handcrafted, artisan pizza."

Pizza Fusion, whose motto is 'Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time,' practices an eco-friendly approach to its entire existence, including its restaurants' build-out, service and overall operations. Through building all of its restaurants to LEED certification standards, delivering its food in company owned hybrid vehicles, and offsetting 100% of its 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.

Furthermore, Pizza Fusion is the first and only restaurant chain to mandate third-party organic restaurant certification at all its locations. Beyond its organic menu of pizza, sandwiches, salads, desserts, and beers and wines, Pizza Fusion also offers a number of options for people with selective diets. Pizza Fusion was recognized by PETA as a top-10 vegan-friendly pizzeria in America for their variety of vegan menu items, including casein-free soy cheese, brownies, sandwiches, and more. What's more, Pizza Fusion has quickly become a popular restaurant among the celiac community for their extensive selection of gluten-free pizza, brownies, and beer.

"We're very excited to branch out to the Chicago area as it's not only a very green city, but its residents appreciate a great tasting pizza," Vaughan Lazar, CEO and co-founder of Pizza Fusion, continues. "I believe our tasty organic pizzas and sustainable approach to restaurant service will compliment the Chicago's values for quality of life and good food. We're proud to have Tom as a part of our family. His expertise will be an asset with introducing Pizza Fusion to the Chicago market while providing Naperville residents with a delicious means of supporting the environment."

In the United States, restaurants are the top electricity consumer among retail businesses, accounting for 33% of the total consumption. Each restaurant produces an average of 50,000 pounds of waste per year. Pizza Fusion's LEED certified restaurants reduce water waste by 40 percent and electricity consumption by 20 percent annually. The chain's LEED certified restaurants feature a number of unique, eco-efficient products, techniques and designs. Pizza Fusion restaurants' eco-elements include countertops made of re-used glass bottles from other Pizza Fusions and manufactured using a cradle-to-cradle approach, bamboo flooring, 30% recaptured industrial concrete, non-VOC paints, energy start certified appliances, insulation made from recycled blue jeans, ceiling baffles made from recycled composite board, low voltage, low heat lighting, furniture made from reclaimed wood, and much more – all the way down to the 100 percent post consumer toilet paper in their bathrooms.

Tom and his wife Sophia have lived in the Chicago area all their lives. Tom has more than 20 years of restaurant experience backed by a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He's currently a member of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce and Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation. Tom has also enrolled in Naperville's Renewable Energy Program.

Pizza Fusion is considering likeminded franchisee candidates to open 40 planned locations throughout the Chicago area over the next five years.

About Pizza Fusion

Founded in the best interest of the individual and the environment, Pizza Fusion combines a fresh, organic menu with an industry-leading environmental approach to restaurant service in chic dining destinations built to LEED certification standards. Pizza Fusion specializes in a full-service approach to gourmet pizza, focaccia sandwiches, salads, desserts, and organic beers and wines, all in their purest form - untainted by artificial additives, such as pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics and hormones. With numerous franchises opening across the U.S., Pizza Fusion is well on its way to 'saving the earth, one pizza at a time.

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