Houston Developer Opens Russo’s Adjacent to NRG Stadium on Houston’s Southwest Side; Russo’s Restaurants Continues Historic Level of U.S. Expansion
The wait is over on Houston’s southwest side.
Russo’s New York Pizzeria has arrived. Now, more of Houston’s raving Russo’s fans can savor the tastes, aromas and unmistakable ambiance of an authentic New York-style pizzeria. The well-known fast casual Italian restaurant that brings to life old-world charm and hospitality recently opened at The Shops at 3 Corners, 8236 Kirby Dr., Suite 160.
Local resident Asif Malik, an experienced hospitality industry entrepreneur with impressive business acumen, opened the Russo’s New York Pizzeria location directly adjacent to NRG Stadium, proudly serving local residents, businesses and thousands of hungry football fans.
“From the moment customers walk in, they know they’ve come somewhere special. They’re getting a true ‘slice’ of New York on Houston’s southwest side,” said Malik. “Everything is made from fresh ingredients. From the giant slices of pizza and calzones to the pasta, these are traditional Italian dishes served just the way our guests have come to expect from Russo’s.”
The Kirby Drive New York Pizzeria is the 20th Russo’s Restaurant to open in the Houston area. The expansion signals the continuation of significant franchise growth for the brand throughout the United States and beyond. The company is advancing its strategic growth plan in the beginning of 2015, adding 20 to 30 restaurants in the next three years. In addition to the U.S. markets, Russo’s has already taken off internationally, with multiple locations in the Middle East. Plus, early discussions are underway with developers in Canada, Mexico, the Philippines and China. The 12-month period from late-2013 to today represents the brand’s most aggressive growth phase.
Highlighting the performance of Russo’s New York Pizzeria, and its upscale sister brand Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, is the nearly 24 percent average net profit, which includes average food costs of less than 21 percent, a figure well below the national average for the fast casual pizza/Italian sector. Additionally, the brands’ average unit volume surpasses $1 million. The most recent Russo’s opening saw weekly sales revenues between $35,000 to $60,000. Russo’s branded restaurants are profitable during their first year of operations.
For proven restaurant operations teams and driven entrepreneurs interested in pizza franchise opportunities, most commercial loans require a low down payment of 20 to 30 percent of the total investment to launch a restaurant. Moreover, Russo’s works with a collection of preferred third party financing sources to support its franchisees.
“Opening our 20th location in the Houston DMA is a momentous occasion for Russo’s Restaurants,” said CEO Anthony Russo, a formally trained chef who opened his first Russo’s New York Pizzeria in 1992. “We couldn’t be happier about carrying on the Russo’s tradition with a new restaurant in Houston and doing so with a team as gifted as Asif’s. With their qualifications, Russo’s is continuing to build a bright future in our home Houston market.”
Russo’s New York Pizzeria and its traditional Italian recipes trace their origins to a tight-knit family where the kitchen was the center of all activity. As a young child, Anthony helped his grandmother roll dough for cannoli, carefully wrapping it around four-inch wooden broomsticks in order to perfectly shape the beloved Italian pastry. By the age of 12, Anthony was learning authentic Italian recipes. Earning the Chef’s distinction at the young age of 18, Anthony honed his skills as a culinary expert working in his parent’s fine Italian restaurant and then opened his own pizzeria just a few years later. He then opened Anthony’s Pizzeria in Clear Lake, Texas, and later two restaurants in Houston; one named Café Anthony and the other named Russo Café Anthony, an upscale Italian restaurant.
Today, Russo’s New York Pizzeria and Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen have garnered a cult-like following for their truly authentic and delicious Italian dishes made from the freshest ingredients and its New York-style pizza. The restaurants blend premium recipes with the magic created around a homemade Italian meal.
Russo’s Restaurants is a 36-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 corporate and franchised locations across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Hawaii. Russo’s has entered international markets as well, with locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. There are an additional 20-plus units in development both in the United States and internationally. Chef Anthony Russo has created his concepts from years of applying his unique, family recipes featuring New York-style pizza along with a broad variety of handcrafted pasta creations, calzones, salads, sandwiches, soups and desserts, reflecting his commitment to his New York roots where food and family come first.