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5 Pizza Joints Expanding in Baltimore

Pizza restaurants are putting their dough in Charm City. We’ve rounded up a list of five pizza companies that are opening new stores in Greater Baltimore.

1) Pizza Studio 

Most of these expanding pizza restaurants are the build-your-own variety, like California-based Pizza Studio, which offers six types of crust and 35 toppings and spices—including Old Bay seasoning. After opening a 65-seat restaurant in Charles Village this month, the chain is set to open 12 to 24 locations in the Baltimore-Washington corridor over the next several years, co-founder Ron Biskin says (pictured on the left with co-founder Samit Varma). The majority of these new stores will be company owned and operated by Pizza Studio. Look out for potential new stores at the Inner Harbor and Fells Point, and in White Marsh, Towson, Owings Mills, Hunt Valley and Columbia, with lease announcements in the next couple of weeks.

Ron says ideal Pizza Studio locations are either urban streetfront spots that attract a lot of foot traffic or suburban shopping centers anchored by successful grocery stores, big-box retailers and other fast-casual restaurants. Each location costs about $400k to open.

2) Piezzetta

If you’ve been rolling the dice at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, you’ve probably seen Piezzetta. Now co-founders Chris Ilardo and James Schroeder—a chef trained in Italy—are trying their luck at other locations. Chris says the company will open four more locations by the end of the year—two this summer—and eight next year. Some of these new stores will open in other Mid-Atlantic cities, he says, as well as on the West Coast and in the South.

The operating partners are looking at both marketplace settings like Horseshoe and stand-alone locations that seat between 50 and 100, that are high-profile and attract lots of foot traffic. If the Ilardo name sounds familiar, it’s because Chris’ dad, Harry Ilardo, founded the Mamma Ilardo pizza chain in 1976. So he spent a lot of time at his dad’s stores when he was a kid.

3) Bagby Pizza 

The popular Harbor East pizza spot is heading to the ‘burbs with a quick-service version of its brand. Bagby Pizza Co will open a 52-seat BYOB location at the Festival of Woodholme in Pikesville by early summer. The company plans to open two more locations within the next 18 months, says Bagby Restaurant Group marketing director Dave Seel. He can’t say where just yet as the company is still in lease negotiations. The Pikesville spot will serve sandwiches, salads, Italian desserts and pizzas either made to order or from their “The Way We Do It” signature menu. Bagby Restaurant Group also operates Cunningham’s, Fleet Street Kitchen and TEN TEN American Bistro.

4) Pie Five Pizza 

The Dallas-based fast-casual chain Pie Five Pizza Co is opening an 80-seat store in Glen Burnie at 6653 B Governor Ritchie Hwy the first week of June. Next up is Ellicott City, opening this fall in a new development, called Arcadia Square, on Route 40. The company plans to open five other stores in Baltimore within the next six to 12 months as part of its national expansion plan, with more than 300 locations under contract. It opened a store in Laurel in January and an Owings Mills location last year. 

5) Papa Murphy's 

Papa Murphy's just opened its first store in Greater Baltimore this month, at 10039 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City and is eyeing more locations. We snapped a picture of the store, located in the Forest Green shopping center. Based in Vancouver, WA, the chain is America’s fifth-largest pizza company, according to Pizza Today, with 1,425 stores in the US, Canada and United Arab Emirates and $785M in annual sales. It has two other Maryland locations, in Frederick and Hagerstown.