D.C.-based &pizza chain continues East Coast expansion with RSE investment

The Washington Business Journal is reporting that D.C.-based &pizza chain has received a new round of funding to expand its concept up and down the East Coast. RSE Ventures, a firm with ties to the Miami Dolphins NFL team, has invested an undisclosed amount. &pizza expects to increase its presence in New York and expand to new markets, including Boston and Miami, according to the report.

The 23-unit fast-casual chain, with customizable, create-your-own pizza crust and toppings, and co-founded by entrepreneur Michael Lastoria in 2012, plans to open six stores in the New York market in 2018.

According to RSE’s website, it is a sports & entertainment venture firm, investing in “curious entrepreneurs.” The firm also invests in sports-related media. Stephen M. Ross is the co-founder and chairman of RSE, and the owner of the Miami Dolphins team.

This new RSE investment follows a November 2016 investment by Avalt, based in Boston, for $25M. Avalt has invested previously in Dunkin’ Donuts, Domino’s Pizza and Outback Steakhouse. At the time, &pizza had announced its plans for the New York City NoMad location. It has since then added a store at Astor Place.

The Boston expansion will include a location in the historic Harvard Square neighborhood—a collaboration with “trendy” Milk Bar—according to the Boston Globe. If all openings go as planned, the &pizza chain will have about 30 stores on the East Coast by the end of 2018.

Industry magazine Restaurant Business identified &pizza as one of the fastest-growing fast-casual restaurant chains based on 2016 sales growth.

Photo credit: &pizza