Cleveland-based pizza chain PizzaFire has signed a lease to open its first Dayton-area restaurant this spring, with plans to add three or four more locations in the region.
The first PizzaFire in southwest Ohio will be at 4325 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering — adjacent to a Chipotle restaurant near the intersection of Shroyer Road and Ohio 48, according to Ryan Rao, director of business development for the young but fast-growing chain.
With its “fast-casual” and built-to-order service line similar to Subway and Chipotle, PizzaFire is similar in concept, and a direct competitor, to the similarly-named, Kettering-based Rapid Fired Pizza. The Kettering chain recently opened its second Dayton-area location and has signed leases to open four more in the coming months in the region.
PizzaFire has five locations in the Cleveland-Akron area and one in suburban Columbus, and another 14 in the works in northeast and central Ohio, Rao said. But it has its sights set on the Dayton-Cincinnati market.
“We are aggressively looking in the Dayton market. We think it will hold four or five PizzaFire stores,” Rao said.
The Kettering location is projected to open June 2 and will employ about 20, Rao said. It will occupy more than 3,000 square feet of space in the retail center that also includes Great Clips and Firehouse Subs.
The fast-pizza concept has taken the West coast by storm in the last few years, but only recently came to the Miami Valley. The first Rapid-Fired Pizza opened in September 2015 in Washington Twp. across the street from Whole Foods Market. It opened its second location Feb. 29 on Col. Glenn Highway near Wright State University. Leases have been signed to open additional locations in Huber Heights, Sugarcreek Twp., Troy and Springfield in the coming months.
At least two other fast-serve pizza chains — MOD Pizza and Blaze Pizza — have indicated they’re looking to open locations in the Dayton area. A spokeswoman for MOD Pizza said this morning that two new locations — one each in the Cincinnati and Columbus areas — are expected to open this summer, but none are in the works yet in the Dayton area.