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Fast-Casual Pizza Concept Enters Saint Louis Market

Firenza Pizza opened its doors at 20 Allen Ave. this week, the first of five locations this couple plans to bring to St. Louis.

When Steve Imrie and his wife, Dahra, first visited Firenza Pizza in Virginia, he was skeptical about bringing the fast-casual franchise concept to St. Louis.
“The decision to bring a pizza restaurant to St. Louis wasn’t made lightly, especially with the city’s history when it comes to pizza,” Steve Imrie said. “But when we tried this brand, it blew us away.”
Firenza Pizza opened its doors at 20 Allen Ave. this week, the first of five locations the couple plans to bring to St. Louis. SanSai Japanese Grill occupied the space prior to Firenza.
The 3,000-square-foot space can accommodate about 50 guests and will also serve Ziggy’s Frozen Treats, which include gelato and custard. Imrie has already hired 18 people to staff the restaurant and is looking to hire additional help in the coming weeks. A patio with additional seating will open during the warmer months, Imrie said.
He declined to share investment costs for the space. Pernikoff Construction Co. served as the general contractor and Nick Adams of Mademan Design served as the architect. Novus Webster lLC, tied to Novus Cos., owns the property, which has an appraised value of $5.4 million.
Imrie said he is aware that the fast-casual pizza concept has been popular in St. Louis, but he is confident that the quality of Firenza Pizza will stand out among the others. He stated that the brand uses a unique dough, which uses Italian flour and is made in the shop every morning. Imrie also stressed that all his other ingredients are clean and unique, and usually made in-house, like its pizza sauce.
The duo is so confident the concept will thrive in St. Louis that they purchased up to five locations through the franchise. Imrie said they haven’t decided on other locations but hope to develop sites in west and south counties of St. Louis.
“We figured people will always want to eat pizza, and they like to eat well in this town,” Imrie said.

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