Husband and wife partners, Michele and Gennaro DiMeo, owners of Maryland-based Squisito NY Pizza & Pasta, have opened their first franchised location.

The fast casual Italian brand joined forces with Fransmart, the franchise development company behind brands such as Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Qdoba Mexican Grill and zpizza, to develop the concept in strategically selected U.S. markets.

The first franchise location in Burtonsville, Md., is owned by John Minnick, a retiree from U.S. Homeland Security.

"We were having a soft opening for family and friends, and people were just walking in to our soft opening. After awhile, we couldn't turn them away – so we began selling the night of our soft opening," Minnick said.

Michele DiMeo added that since its opening, Burtonsville has consistently been a top performing store sales-wise in the Squisito system.

Squisito was listed as No. 59 on the 2012 Top 100 Movers and Shakers.

Read more about franchising and growth.

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