Raving Brands new franchise holding firm, Big Game Brands, has announced the purchase of The Original Italian Pie, a full-service Italian restaurant chain featuring gourmet pizzas, salads, sandwiches and calzones. Big Game Brands is adding The Original Italian Pie to its portfolio of concepts that includes Monkey Joe’s Parties & Play, The Flying Biscuit Cowlicks and The Penguin.

Big Game Brands plans to expand the concept across the U.S., focusing its efforts in the Southeast by first opening a corporate location in Charlotte, N.C. and a new franchised location in New Orleans. With single-unit operators and area developers already taking an interest in the brand, Big Game Brands plans to grow The Original Italian Pie to 25 locations by the end of 2012.

“After launching concepts such as Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mama Fu’s and Planet Smoothie, we understand what it takes for a concept to be successful in an ever-changing environment,” said Daryl Dollinger, president of Big Game Brands. “The addition of Italian Pie continues our reach into the casual dining market. ... We believe Italian Pie offers quality menu items at an affordable price, and we are enthusiastic about the potential for growth and the opportunity to take the brand to the next level.”

To maintain the excitement of The Original Italian Pie, Big Game Brands has brought on Pat Linch as vice president of operations and brand leader. Linch previously worked with the brand and will remain based in New Orleans to lead franchise support and training efforts.

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