Commerce Township, Mich. (February 26, 2008) Forging ahead with its plans for aggressive expansion outside its home state of Michigan, operators of the Papa Romano’s and Mr. Pita quick-service chains have signed agreements to open multiple locations in three states. 

Casey Askar, chairman and chief executive officer for both chains, said his company has finalized area developer agreements with partners in Colorado, Texas and North Carolina and expects to open Papa Romano’s and/or Mr. Pita stores in each of those states as early as this summer.  The announcement comes on the heels of the opening of the first out of state Mr. Pita in suburban Orlando, Florida earlier this month.

“We’ve identified strong partners in each of those states who have the skill, experience and business acumen to serve as master franchisees for growing our brands in those territories,” said Askar.  “We are now in the process of looking for new store sites and prospective franchisees for those areas.”

In Colorado, James Odle and Jeffrey Marcus, of Brush, will serve as area developers for the greater metropolitan-Denver area and the northeastern counties of the state, an area that the company projects will serve more than four million people.  Odle and Marcus will open new stores, which they will own and operate, and will serve as the chains’ agent in franchising Papa Romano’s and Mr. Pita in greater Denver.  They will also provide training and operations support to franchisees in the area.

The two will reap the benefits of the co-branded Papa Romano’s and Mr. Pita business model, which combines two revenue streams under one roof.  Odle and Marcus plan to open upwards of 100 Papa Romano’s and Mr. Pita stores, including single and co-branded units, and are currently seeking sites.  They expect to open their first location this summer.

In Texas, James Gibson, of Sugar Land, has signed an agreement making him the area developer for the greater Houston area, which will serve more than five million people.  Beginning this summer, Gibson will open at least 120 Papa Romano’s and Mr. Pita stores, including single and co-branded units.  

Joseph Gerbino, a Mr. Pita franchisee since 1995 with four stores in Michigan, has partnered with Thomas Bommarito, of Troy, Mich., and Patrick Mulcrone, of Charlotte, NC, to open 30-plus Mr. Pita restaurants in the Charlotte metropolitan area.  Their first restaurant, located at The Markets at Cedar Ridge on Highway 49 (South Tryon Street) in Charlotte, is expected to open this spring.  Their territory extends into the northwest corner of South Carolina, including Spartanburg and Greenville, and will serve more than two million people.

In addition to these area developer agreements, the company will also open its first Mr. Pita restaurant in New York.  An agreement has been finalized with Daniel Smith, of East Aurora, NY, and Aaron Golding, of Blasdall, NY, to open a new Mr. Pita in the Buffalo area.  The store is slated to open this spring.


About Papa Romano’s                                                                                              

Papa Romano’s began serving its premium, fresh, made-from-scratch pizza from a single location in Southfield, Mich., in 1970.   Today, the privately held company, headquartered in Commerce Township, Mich., operates restaurants throughout southern and central Michigan, provides catering services and offers a full menu of traditional and specialty pizzas, breads, salads, chicken, subs, pasta and more.  In 2007 and 2006, Papa Romano’s premium pizza and subs were named “Michigan’s Best” in The Detroit News’ annual readership survey of the best of Michigan.  Papa Romano’s has a passion for pleasing its customers and is dedicated to serving fresh, high-quality food.  Visit Papa Romano’s on the web at

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