Pizza Fusion opened its first West Coast restaurant in San Diego, California, this last week in the Hillcrest neighborhood at 3827 5th Avenue. The restaurant, upon receiving certification from the USGBC, will be San Diego’s first ever LEED certified restaurant ( San Diego is the second location of Pizza Fusion’s national expansion to open outside their home state of Florida, following the opening of their Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, restaurant in April. Entrepreneurial duo Mike and Nicole Walker are the franchisees behind Pizza Fusion’s new San Diego location.

“We’re very excited to introduce the West Coast to Pizza Fusion’s industry leading approach to earth friendly restaurant service and commitment to serving high quality organic food,” Mike explains. “Our first week of service was warmly received by San Diego residents, and we’re looking forward to building a loyal following of likeminded customers.”

Walker’s San Diego store is the first of five locations to open this year in California, including Temecula, Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo, and Clovis. Pizza Fusion, whose motto is ‘Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time,’ practices an eco-friendly approach to their entire existence, including their restaurants’ buildout, service, and overall operations. Pizza Fusion builds only LEED certified restaurants, delivers their food in company owned hybrid vehicles, and offsets 100 percent of their power consumption with the purchase of renewable energy certificates (among many other things). Currently, the company has over 75 restaurants opening in 15 states across the U.S., including California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kansas, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

“We’re very excited and proud to branch out to the California market as some might consider it the hub of the United States’ green movement,” continues Vaughan Lazar, CEO and co-founder of Pizza Fusion. “Having personally spent the first week of our West Coast operations in San Diego, I got to witness the interest and demand for organic restaurant service first hand. Pizza Fusion San Diego is a beautiful restaurant situated in a cultured area of San Diego where residents are already warming up to the delicious taste of our organic menu. Furthermore, it’s a good fit with the city’s already robust portfolio of organic restaurants.”

Pizza Fusion is the only restaurant chain in America to build all their restaurants to LEED certification standards; featuring a number of cutting-edge, eco-efficient products, techniques and designs, such as eliminating the use of water heaters by recycling heat from their ovens to heat the water in their restaurants. Pizza Fusion restaurants’ other eco-elements include countertops made from 100 percemt recycled detergent bottles, bamboo flooring, 30 percent recaptured industrial concrete, ceiling panels made from 74 percent recycled aluminum cans and 24 percent post industrial metals, USG Gypsum Board made from pre-used drywall, insulation made from recycled blue jeans, ceiling baffles made from recycled composite board, low voltage and low heat lighting, seat cushions made with soybean oil, furniture made from reclaimed wood and much more–all the way down to the 100 percent post consumer toilet paper in their bathrooms.

Born and raised in Park City, Utah, Mike Walker moved to San Diego in 2003 with his San Diego native wife, Nicole. Prior to Pizza Fusion, Mike served two terms with the United States Marines in Iraq from 1999 to 2007. Nicole has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Cal State San Marcos. Both are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy snowboarding, surfing, backpacking, rock climbing, and scuba diving.

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