WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- &pizza, the counterculture brand known for its critically acclaimed pizza and craft beverages, ampersand-tattooed employees (the Tribe), and fight for a living wage, announces that it has received $25 million of growth capital to fund its rapid expansion into several major markets, including New York City.
The funding was led by AVALT and included significant participation by existing shareholders. AVALT is a family office investment firm that makes long term investments in dynamic businesses with large growth potential. AVALT's partners bring extensive restaurant experience, having invested in Outback Steakhouse, Domino's Pizza, and Dunkin' Donuts, among other concepts. &pizza is also announcing its first New York City shop, slated to open in the NoMad neighborhood in mid-2017. The historic neighborhood, known for its mix of residential and office buildings and anchored by Madison Square Park, is the ideal location for &pizza to lay the foundation for its New York expansion. &pizza approaches its food, culture and shop design in a progressive way. Core to its offering is pizza, where guests are encouraged to craft an individual pie (with unlimited ingredients) or select from eight chef-inspired choices that boast unique and bold flavor combinations. &pizza uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, including organic dough, non-GMO produce, and a full set of gluten-free and vegan offerings. &pizza works with local producers to create innovative menu offerings that span a variety of food and beverage categories, including craft &SODA, small batch &TEA, and &WINE. In 2016, &pizza expanded to Baltimore and Philadelphia and is opening six shops in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia region, bringing the total to 21 by year end. "We are approaching this next phase of growth with the same excitement as when we opened our first location," says &pizza CEO Michael Lastoria. "Due to the success we have enjoyed and achieved to date, &pizza generated significant investment interest. We ultimately chose AVALT given their deep and relevant investment experience, and desire to create a long term partnership to help us embark on the next level of our ambitious journey. This funding will guarantee a continued focus on the growth of our business and our Tribe members. It allows us to expand our reach and preach the gospel of &pizza not only deeper inside the city limits of the nation's capital, but far beyond. Continuing to incorporate the DNA of each community we serve, and leading the movement and being a voice of #fightfor15 is all we could ever ask for." As a testament to &pizza's culture, which represents a "go anywhere, do everything" lifestyle, over 60 Tribe Members (and 25 guests) have proudly tattooed the iconic ampersand on their body. In line with &pizza's commitment to incorporating the culture and characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood, the brand engages area artists to bring each of its shops to life through localized shop design and gives back to local charities through its &CHARITY program.