Chef Anthony Russo, founder of Texas-based Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen, has announced that he is returning the company to its roots and targeting New York and New Jersey for expansion.

With 28 restaurants already open and operating in Texas, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas, company plans call for the opening of 20 to 25 restaurants through New York and New Jersey throughout the next several years.

Russo will attend the International Franchise Expo from June 15-17 to educate entrepreneurs about the company's domestic and international franchise development opportunities. The company will be represented at Booth No. 315.

"I am excited to return to where I was born and raised, where I learned how to cook from my grandmother," Russo said. "Our goal at the show is to educate potential investors about the Italian restaurant industry and the franchise development opportunities that are available to them through Russo's."

Since the beginning of the year, the company has launched a new stand-alone restaurant prototype and a new Chef Anthony Russo retail line that includes six varieties of New York style gluten-free pizza (Greek, New York Style, Margherita, Chicken Rustica, Pepperoni and Italian Mozzarella, as well as Mulberry), a Sicilian organic extra virgin olive oil, as well as a Russo's tomato sauce.

The company also recently signed a Middle East franchise development deal that is slated to bring 28 new Russo Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen restaurants to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.

Russo's is seeking single and multi-unit franchise owners to open new Russo's restaurants across the East Coast, as well as internationally in countries such as Lebanon, Oman, Turkey and Eastern Europe.

"As we continue to grow our brand, Russo's is a great business opportunity for someone seeking to provide guests with an authentic Italian meal experience, a gathering place that families, couples and business people can visit on a daily basis. We look forward to introducing Russo's throughout new parts of the country in the next several years," Russo said.

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