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May 9, 2011

Zawya Russo, owner of the award-winning Russo's New York Pizzeria and Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen is pleased to announce expansion into the UAE after awarding exclusive UAE territory rights to Dubai based Prime Hospitality, a division of Ghobash Trading & Investment Company.

After serving his signature 28 Inch party pizza at the 2011 Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai, Russo's received an overwhelming response from Gulfood visitors sampling a slice of his pie prepared with fresh dough without additives or preservatives, topped with sauce made from premium hand-selected tomatoes and authentic Italian cheese.

Numerous expression of interested were received after the exhibition and recently signed agreements will see the popular restaurant chain serving authentic New York style Pizza's in at least 26 additional units in the Gulf alone over the next decade.

With a newly established office in Dubai, the future looks bright for the ambitious restaurateur, who started franchising his popular 'New York Pizzeria' in 1992 and has since successfully expanded his business to 28 locations in Texas and surrounding states, including developing the more up-market casual dining 'Russo's Italian Coal-Fired Kitchen' concept.

What distinguishes a coal-fired oven from a wood-burning or a gas-fired oven is the coal oven's intense heat." said Russo. "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."

Known for his authentic Italian cuisine, characterized by premium all natural ingredients and regional influences, Russo personally stands behind the Russo family standards and devotion to quality. 'We work directly with dairy farms, flour mills, tomato growers and an olive oil producer'' says Russo ''and are getting our products direct from the source. No matter where on the globe our restaurants are located, all will have the exact same high quality products''. The menu also offers great options for the more health conscious consumer carrying a gluten free pizza option and multi-grain pasta choices.

"We chose Prime Hospitality as our partner for the UAE as their philosophy is similar to ours: a commitment to quality and fresh ingredients while offering our customers a most memorable experience for a reasonable price" Russo says.

Murad Al Nasur, General Manager of Prime Hospitality, shares Russo's sentiment  'Prime was established in 2009 and we carefully select the brands that we add to our portfolio' Al Nasur says. 'we focus on quality and authenticity of the food that we serve in our restaurants and Russo's fits right in''.

Having received numerous awards, including best pizza in the greater Houston area 2008 and 2009, Russo's was also featured in the March 2010 issue of Culinary Queen Rachael Ray's magazine 'Every Day with Rachael Ray' where Russo's pizza was rated as one of the best pizzas in the United States.

Prime Hospitality will be operating Russo's Restaurants throughout the UAE, with first openings planned in Dubai and Abu Dhabi later this year.

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