Another new-to-market pizza chain is rising in metro Richmond.
Your Pie, a Georgia-based restaurant franchise, is preparing to establish its first local location in the Westchester Commons Shopping Center in Midlothian.
Robert Esteves and brother-in-law Steven Pearce are bringing the franchise to the region.
“We were looking for place a little off the beaten path,” Esteves said. “There is a lot of activity happening at Westchester Commons and we like the location.”
The restaurant will fill 3,000 square feet between Sedona Taphouse and Buffalo Wild Wings near the Westchester Commons Regal Cinemas 16. It is slated to debut in March, Esteves said, with the pair investing about $600,000 into the franchise and space.
Prior to the pizza business, Esteves was a high school math and physics teacher for 10 years in Michigan before moving to Virginia. He recently left his job as a project manager to oversee the Your Pie venture. Pearce, a former 3-D modeler and animator of virtual reality simulators for the Army, will join Esteves full time to grow the chain in metro Richmond.
The franchisees are selecting a general contractor. Divaris Real Estate brokers Read Goode and Cheryle Toy handled the lease.
Established in Athens, Georgia, nearly 10 years ago, Your Pie is known for customizable 10-inch pizzas, build-your-own panini sandwiches and bread bowl salads. It also serves gelato, beer and wine.
Since 2010, the chain has expanded to nearly 60 locations nationwide, mainly in the Southeast throughout Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.
Your Pie operates two Virginia locations – in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Another location is pending in Gloucester.
The company cooks pizzas in brick ovens at a high temperature for a short period of time.
“It will take about four minutes to cook the pizzas,” Esteves said.
The Midlothian location at at 15720 WC Main St. will be one of Your Pie’s largest restaurants with more than 100 indoor and outdoor seats. The duo also will have a food trailer equipped with a pizza oven to travel to special events and festivals.
With the addition of Your Pie, Richmond’s pizza options are mounting.
California-based Blaze Pizza, another create-your-own, fast-casual chain, recently opened its second metro Richmond location in the Dominion Shoppes retail center next to Innsbrook.
Blaze opened its first Richmond-area restaurant a year ago in Midlothian at the Wegman’s-anchored Stonehenge Village Shopping Center.
Other pizza chains growing across the metro include Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pupatella, the latter of which recently opened its first Richmond location in the former Rancho T space near VCU.
With control of the franchise territory across metro Richmond, Esteves said, he and Pearce plan to open five additional Your Pies around the region in coming years.
“We’ve got our eyes on everything,” he said. “We’d like to add a location in downtown Richmond given the growth in the area. We’ve looked at Short Pump, Scott’s Addition and Laburnum Avenue as well.”