FORT WORTH, Texas – It’s been 48 years since the fast casual enterprise known as Mr. Gatti’s and Mr. Gatti’s Pizza opened the brand to franchisees. The company recently announced a change in growth strategy.

An aggressive franchise expansion campaign is underway that could lead to new restaurants in 27 states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. There currently are 42 franchisees operating under the Gatti’s brand in 76 locations throughout Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Mr. Gatti's Pizza originated in the 1960’s in Texas.  Since then, the Gatti’s brand has expanded to include Gatti’s Pizza as a family entertainment concept, in addition to the Mr. Gatti’s restaurants.

“We are eager to introduce a new generation of fans to our great pizza and family-friendly atmosphere,” Michael Poates, president of Fort Worth-based Gatti’s Pizza, said in a statement. “With the emergence of the new wave of pizza options sweeping the restaurant industry, the time is right to reintroduce the original Mr. Gatti’s concept and bring in new franchisees who are excited about the brand and its product.”

Mr. Gatti’s Pizza is a family fast-casual and entertainment concept that offers diners a buffet-style format with table service. The company has expanded its menu to feature traditional Mr. Gatti’s items — such as lasagna, meatballs and fresh salads — alongside new offerings such as gluten-free pizza crust and build-your-own pizza and pasta dishes.

Much of the menu is prepared in a copper tiled, stone fired rotary deck oven. Mr. Gatti’s and Mr. Gatti’s Pizza concepts feature game rooms that includes both current and vintage options.

“Our goal in launching this new franchising effort is to reconnect the brand to a loyal and passionate customer base that have now become parents and, thus, use that original consumer to introduce the brand to a new generation of guests,” Poates explained. “Since the introduction of new Mr. Gatti’s restaurants, we are hearing from guests who have great memories of Mr. Gatti’s when they were kids and are excited about being able to introduce their kids to one of their favorite childhood experiences.”

Four of the new restaurants have opened in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with nine more in various stages of development across the region, the company said.