Russo’s New York Pizzeria, a chef-driven New York-style Italian restaurant and pizzeria franchise concept, has strengthened its presence in the Middle East region by opening new locations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The franchise recently opened its eighth location in Dubai’s Nakheel Mall through its international franchise partner Prime Hospitality.

Prime Hospitality is set to open another location in Mirdif Uptown Mall in Dubai soon, the company noted.

Russo’s Saudi franchise partner opened two new locations in Riyadh and plans to open eight additional outlets next year.

The new locations in the Middle East will serve New York-style pizza and pasta to the local communities and provides dine-in, take out and home delivery service.

Commenting on the development, chef Alfredo Russo said: “Our home delivery sales have exceeded our expectations and we continue to plan on developing more than ten stores throughout the UAE market.

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“During an unforeseen drop in sales and openings in the restaurant industry due to Covid-19, we were quickly able to pivot and not only survive through this pandemic, but our brand is thriving with sales up comparatively versus last year.”

Russo’s New York Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen owns smaller footprint locations, ranging from 1,200ft² to 1,700ft².

These locations partner with third-party aggregators to add virtual storefronts and offer fresh ingredients sourced from dairy farmers, tomato growers and olive oil producers.

The fresh produce will be used in Russo’s Kitchen to prepare items, including homemade sauces, salad dressings, pizza dough and fresh pasta.

Classic Italian items provided by Russo’s Kitchen include Truffle Tortelloni, Russo’s Lasagna, Baked Ziti, Pappardelle Carbonara, Tuscan Vegan Pizza, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Spicy Fennel Sausage Pizza. The franchise also offers gluten-free and vegan options.

In addition to the Middle East, Russo’s New York Pizzeria is also planning to open three new locations in Texas and one in Oklahoma in the US.

The franchise also plans to further expand its footprint in Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas in the US and internationally.