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Brooklyn-style pizza chain planning Iowa City location
IOWA CITY — A Brooklyn-style pizzeria chain with roots in the Big Apple has its eyes on Iowa for expansions starting this year.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, known for its coal brick-oven pizza, announced an agreement to develop multiple franchises in Iowa through Doughtime Pizza Co.
The franchisee will open five Grimaldi’s locations in Iowa, with the first planned to open by the end of 2023. Locations under consideration for the first five locations include Ankeny, Waukee, Iowa City and Ames. The first Iowa site has not been determined.
The expansion to Iowa comes as the chain plans to open five restaurants in the United Arab Emirates, as well. It currently has locations in 11 states, mostly in the South and southwestern United States.
“The response since opening our first franchised location in Alabama has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to continuing to grow our franchising program to introduce Grimaldi’s to communities across the country,” said Grimaldi’s Pizzeria CEO Joseph Ciolli.
The chain’s signature pizza is known for its thin crust style, fresh sliced mozzarella cheese, and techniques dating back more than 100 years. Grimaldi’s also offers calzones, salads, and a full bar program with handcrafted cocktails and local craft beers.
“Grimaldi’s dedication to excellent service, fresh ingredients and authentic coal-brick oven flavors seamlessly aligns with our portfolio of restaurants and offered a natural addition for our company,” said Tom Baldwin Jr. of Doughtime Pizza Co. “Through our five planned franchise locations, we hope to bring the same family-friendly, casual yet upscale atmosphere and award-winning pizzas to communities across the state.”
Baldwin, a Des Moines restaurateur, helped launch Dark Side of the Spoon Hospitality Group in 2019. He got his start more than 30 years ago when he founded Home Team Pizza in Des Moines.
With 21 holdings in the Des Moines and Omaha metros, the group is one of the largest independently owned and operated restaurant groups in Iowa. Holdings including Wellman’s Pub, 1908 Draught House, Annie’s Irish Pub, Blue Toro Cantina + Grill, and Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar.
Leading Doughtime Pizzas alongside Baldwin is Erich Moxley, who began in the hospitality industry in Des Moines before gaining experience with Orchestrate Hospitality and Taco Bell Corporate. He previously led a group of more than 200 Taco Bell franchises in California, Nevada, Kansas and Missouri.
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