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Stamford Hot-Oil Pizza Chain to Begin Franchising

By Alexander Soule, Monday, August 6, 2018

News

The owners of Riko’s Thin Crust Pizza announced plans Monday to franchise the concept regionally, with the restaurant created in 2011 in Stamford and later expanding to Norwalk on the popularity of its hot-oil pizza and other thin-crust pies.

Riko’s hired Franchise Growth Solutions to help it create a dozen new locations by 2020, offering franchises initially in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Riko’s sells its base cheese pizza for $9.50 with toppings $1.50 extra and specialty pizzas priced between $12 and $18. Riko’s also sells a range of salads and a selection of wings.

Speaking Monday with Hearst Connecticut Media, owners Rico Imbrogno and Luigi Cardillo said they had always envisioned franchising the Riko’s concept, but have been working to perfect their business formula first.

“We found it’s not as easy as it looks,” Imbrogno said. “We wanted to streamline the processes. It took this many years to get it as good as we could get it.”

Riko’s has pizzerias at 170 Selleck St. and 886 Hope St., with the company ranked seventh among more than 40 pizzerias in Stamford by reviewers on TripAdvisor.

Topping the Stamford market are Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza and Colony Grill, the latter having sued Riko’s in 2011 on claims the upstart was infringing on Colony Grill’s technique to produce hot-oil pizza in placing a pepper at the center of the pie as it bakes, diffusing the oil into the cheese. Colony Grill has been in expansion mode itself, opening a Port Chester, N.Y., location in July in addition to restaurants in Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield and Milford.

Riko’s ranks 14th on TripAdvisor among pizza places in Norwalk, where it operates a takeout counter with limited seating at 247 Connecticut Ave.

Pizza remains a popular franchise option, with 16 chains included on the latest installment of the “Franchise 500” produced by Entrepreneur magazine. At the high end of cost estimates that presumably would reflect costs in southwestern Connecticut, Entrepreneur estimates startup investments ranging from $140,000 for Snappy Tomato Pizza, a Burlington, Ky.-based company that has been franchising since 1981; to $2.2 million for a Pizza Hut and a few franchises costing even more.

Industry newcomers include SkinnyPizza, founded during the Great Recession in 2009 with health-conscious menu offerings and which opened a location in Greenwich this past spring. And in just four years since its launch, 1000 Degrees Neopolitan Pizza of Galloway, N.J., has built up a base of nearly 40 locations, including a Connecticut restaurant in Lisbon and with another planned for Glastonbury.

Gary Occhiogrosso of Franchise Growth Solutions said Riko’s represents a throwback franchise opportunity of sorts under a fresh brand, with newer franchisors focusing on “build your own” concepts according to Occhiogrosso versus Riko’s focus on a fun atmosphere.

“They haven’t made it all about getting in and out real fast,” Occhiogrosso said. “They’ve made it about sitting down (and) the family tradition, or sitting at the bar and watching a game.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

Stamford hot-oil pizza chain to begin franchising Stamford Advocate/By Alexander Soule Monday, August 6, 201

Mystery Pizzeria Revealed for Norwalk Deli Space

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Riko’s Pizza is taking over the former Victoria’s Italian Deli location on Connecticut Avenue, with the company planning to relocate its existing takeout counter at 347 Main Ave.

Victoria’s Italian Deli closed last month at 247 Connecticut Ave., with owner Cristina Colimitra planning to continue a catering business as Catering by Victoria, utilizing the commercial kitchen of Angela Mia Bakery at the same plaza just off Interstate 95.

Hot from the Kitchen

October 1, 2014

Just as the weather begins to cool, the dining scene starts heating up. For our annual food issue, we’re taking stock of local restaurants on a quest for creative cuisine, late-night noshes, celeb hangouts, super smoothies, best bar eats and much more. We’ve got the dish on some great restaurants set to open later this fall and Westchester destinations worth the drive. With restaurant week right around the corner, we’ve also rounded up a list of specials and everyday deals to help you enjoy more for less. Plus, get the scoop on Greenwich foodie entrepreneurs, farm-to-table at home, lean-and-green food that’s tasty, too, under-the-radar eateries and more.

Possibly the hottest micro-thin-crust pie in town (well, in Stamford, that is), Riko’s turns out a pizza that’s remarkably similar to Colony, but they make feeding your craving more convenient with delivery and a location right on the Old Greenwich border. A plain cheese pie is just $9.50, add $1.50 for the hot oil.

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