Culinary academy students in Texas will soon be able to experience a taste of the Windy City without having to leave the Lone Star State. A recent deal announced by ATX Brands, a local hospitality group that owns and operates several Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill locations, will bring multiple Gino’s East Franchises to Texas in the next several years. According to CultureMap Houston, the deep dish pizza establishment will first be coming to The Woodlands, a neighborhood north of Houston, as soon as November of 2014.
The CEO and founder of ATX Brands, Doug Guller, has reportedly been in talks with the restaurant since as early as 2013, though news of the deal is just now beginning to finalize. Gino’s East is a local staple in Chicago, where it has been pleasing customers with it’s mouthwatering pizza since its founding in 1966. Following the opening of The Woodlands location, other franchises are planned to spring up in Austin, San Antonio and Arlington. While the details of the timeline aren’t locked down completely, Guller has indicated that each franchise will open roughly six weeks after the one before it, with the Austin location coming last in summer 2015.
While deep dish pizza may seem like an odd choice for a venture into the Texan culinary market, Guller seems confident that the current market void for the delicious food will make it a success. In explaining this to CultureMap, he also made sure to reiterate his love for the city of Chicago.
“Currently there’s a hole in the Texas market for great deep dish pizza from Chicago, and when I contacted Gino’s East, they were super excited about coming to Texas,” said Guller. “The other reason is that I lived there back in the late ’90s and became a big fan of Gino’s East, the Cubs and everything Chicago!”