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April 1, 2013

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

General Manager for Prime Hospitality, Murad Alnasur, has now confirmed signing the lease for the first three Russo's New York Pizzeria locations which are set to open this fall in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

The first opening is scheduled late October in Jumeirah Centre on Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai, followed by the Abu Dhabi location which will be opening in November at the Gourmet Republic section of the newly renovated Al Wahda Mall.

Russo's New York Pizzeria will also be opening at the new extension of Sahara Mall in Sharjah late this year.

The first Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen, the up-market concept by the same chain, is planned to open in Dubai next year, but no location is confirmed as of yet. "We have looked at a number of locations and found that landlords are happy to have us, however it is not a matter of opening as soon as we can, it's a matter of finding the right locations," Murad Alnassur said. "We have a very premium brand here, it is not a cookie-cutter concept, every build-out will be customized to fit each specific location."

"The focus is not on quantity, but on quality; at Russo's it's all about the passion for food, it's not about growing a chain as fast as they can. Every Russo's that has opened its doors is still in business, and very successful, Anthony and his team take a great pride in this and Prime Hospitality is committed to continue the same; at the end of the day the customer will taste and experience the difference," said Alnasur.

Russo's offers Authentic Italian food passed through generations from Russo's family. It also features a coal-fired oven for baking their pizzas. According to Chef Anthony Russo what distinguishes a coal-fired oven from a wood-burning or a gas-fired oven is the coal oven's intense heat. "Coal just takes the flavor up a notch and truly separates us from the competition! When paired with the freshest ingredients and our homemade dough and sauce, it's absolutely delicious."

At their current locations in the USA, Russo's succeeded in turning a very discerning clientele into loyal customers; and has received many awards thanks to its combination of real New York-style pizza, authentic Italian food and a sophisticated, yet warm and inviting, design at each restaurant.

The March 2010 issue of ''every day with Rachael Ray'' magazine featured a search for America's best pizza and Russo's Coal-fired Italian Kitchen pizza made the cut! Other awards received include 'Best Pizza' in Houston, 'Best Calzone' in Dallas and 'Top 120 restaurant franchise' by US published Entrepreneur magazine.

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.

"Upon returning from my trip to Houston last Summer and sampling the food first hand, I am convinced Russo's is going to change the way people think about pizza as such great quality is not found in this region," Alnasur finishes by saying, "We are proud of our partnership with the Russo's family and looking forward to making their food available for our guests in the region. Also, owners of prime locations will surely see the value of the brand once launched."

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