Donatos Pizza, one of the nation’s original fast-casual pizza companies, has signed a development deal that will bring at least three new locations to the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky tri-state area over the next few years.

Under the development agreement, the first restaurant will open in Owensboro, Kentucky, by March 2017. A second location is expected to open in Evansville, Indiana, with a third location to be determined in the tri-state area. The Columbus, Ohio-based pizza company has more than 150 locations nationwide, including nine Kentucky locations.

“We are extremely excited to bring Donatos to the Owensboro market,” says Tom Pendrey, COO of Donatos Pizza. “It’s a territory we’ve had our eyes on for quite some time and hope this expansion will open even more doors for us as we continue to boost our brand footprint across the Mid-West. We are highly confident that our premium quality products and exceptional service will be met with warm reception among the Owensboro community.”

The new restaurants will be owned and operated by Tristate Pizza LLC, a group consisting of Sean and Jennifer Byrne and Mark and Liane Riney. The partners bring a diverse portfolio of business ownership that includes various car washes, liquor stores, and real estate throughout Owensboro, Lexington, and Florida. The group has years of experience in the manufacturing and medical industries, respectively.

“For us, being very active in the community is one of our main missions with any of the businesses we own,” Sean Byrne says. “At Donatos, it’s bigger than the pizza. The company promotes goodwill through its products, principles, service, and people. It’s something we deeply align with and we are very excited to bring Donatos to the tri-state area.”

Donatos Pizza was founded in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio, by 19-year-old Jim Grote. In 1999, McDonald’s purchased the chain, but Jim and his daughter Jane bought back the company in 2003.

In addition to its trademark Edge-to-Edge pizza, which comes with more than 100 pieces of pepperoni on it, Donatos offers 26 toppings for customizable pizzas. 

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