Things are really heating up for Houston fast-casual New York Pizzeria. The chain announced today a new addition to the New York Pizzeria family–Russo’s New York. Though “first’s” are pretty hard to come by in Houston’s thriving culinary environment, the new concept restaurant will feature the city’s first coal-fired oven.

“What distinguishes a coal-fired oven from a wood-burning or a gas-fired oven is the coal oven’s intense heat.” says Adrian Hembree, COO of NYP, Inc. and the new concepts franchise owner. “Coal just takes the flavor up a notch and truly separates us from the competition! And when paired with the freshest ingredients and our homemade dough and sauce, it’s absolutely delicious.”

When Italian immigrants arrived at the end of the 19th century, coal was cheap and plentiful–and able to burn at ridiculously hot temperatures. The result was similar to Neapolitan-style pizza. In fact, the first pizzeria in the U.S. was opened in 1905 and baked its pizza in a coal-fired oven. Coal is what fuels the ovens of some of New York’s most famous pizzerias today.

Russo’s New York coal-fired pizzeria will offer a crisper, slightly charred crust that truly embraces the authenticity of New York style pizza. Fresh toppings cook instantly in the heat and pizza lovers will appreciate the enhanced flavor that only comes from baking with coal.

But the new pizzeria doesn’t stop there–continuing its commitment of using made-from-scratch items and premium ingredients. Prosciutto di parma. Sicilian extra virgin olive oil. Homemade sausage. Buffalo mozzarella. Balsamic vinegar of Modena. And more.

The restaurant is an exciting new venture for the New York Pizzeria family. In his ongoing effort to improve and separate the pizzeria from the competition, owner and first generation Italian-American Anthony Russo believes strongly in the simplicity of going back to the original methods of making pizza – the coal-fired oven.

“I have fond childhood memories of enjoying a slice of coal-fired pizza and a Coke,” says Russo. “Our family’s love and passion for food began in Napoli, but my grandparents taught me how to make authentic Italian cuisine in New York City. I believe in staying true to my roots – with original family recipes and fresh ingredients – this coal-fired oven is just another way to demonstrate my commitment.”

Perfect for families, couples, and groups alike, Russo’s New York will feature a new delicious menu backed by the same friendly service and laid-back spirit that customers have come to expect from New York Pizzeria. The menu will feature original Russo family recipes including cooked-to-order pastas, garden fresh salads, calzones, house specialties, and coal-fired New York style pizza–all at reasonable prices.

Russo’s New York has an expected opening date of April 15th, 2008 and will be located at 19817 Northwest Freeway, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77065 between Highway 6 and 290. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner during standard restaurant hours. It will also offer delivery and home-catering services.

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