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Neapolitan pizzeria chain picks South Florida for debut in Sunshine State

Mar. 7, 2017

Amit Kleinberger is hoping to find the same success with his new pizzeria restaurant as he did with Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, so he's starting in the same places.

Kleinberger, CEO of Midici the Neapolitan Pizza Company, has chosen South Florida for the brand's debut in the Sunshine State. He told the South Florida Business Journal he's working with 180 franchise partners to open hundreds of locations in coastal cities across the country.

"Menchie's has ... a nice penetration into the South Florida market," Kleinberger said. "It's one of the best markets for Menchie's which is why I feel it will be a great one for Midici."

One of his expansion partners will open Florida's first Midici the Neapolitan Pizza Company at 510 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale on March 24. The restaurant is expected to create about 60 jobs.

There are also locations planned at 3201 N.E. 1st Ave. in Miami and 218 Clematis St. in West Palm Beach, according to the restaurant's website. The brand aims to have 50 pizzeria locations open by the end of the year. Currently, there's a Midici the Neapolitan Pizza Company open in Sherman Oaks, California.

John Davimos, Midici the Neapolitan Pizza Company's Fort Lauderdale franchisee, started seeking out sites in October 2015 and chose the city because it seemed to be central to a lot of the activity going on in South Florida. Davimos mentioned the Miami-to-Orlando train project Brightline and all of the apartments in the pipeline for Flagler Village as reasons for choosing Fort Lauderdale for his Midici location.

"There's a crazy amount of energy coming into Fort Lauderdale," he said. "You could can see the area sort of exploding."

Davimos said he plans to open more Midici the Neapolitan Pizza Company locations in South Florida and is working on a store in Boca Raton.

The typical Midici is between 3,300 to 3,700 square feet and employs about 50 to 60 people. Its menu includes appetizers, burrata plates, Neapolitan-style pizza, salad, dessert and drinks. Kleinberger bills the brand as a pioneer in "fast-fine" dining, which mixes the speed of fast-casual restaurants and the quality of fine-dining eateries.

"The concept is all about bringing a community of friendships together," Kleinberger said.

Read more at http://www.miamiherald.com.