Weston Dining Entrepreneur Plans Pizza Empire

Categories: Food News

All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Inside DelVecchio's new Weston store.
Sure it looks as though South Florida is recovering from the real estate meltdown that led to the region being labeled as one of nation's most troubled, but in the midst of panic came opportunities.

"Weston Town Center was struggling in 2008 and I started buying up all of the restaurants that were going bankrupt," said Jamie McDonnell, CEO of the Weston Dining Group.

The company's flagship seems to be DelVecchio's pizza. In late January it opened its fourth restaurant in Weston and is planning another in the next 45 days in Sunrise. It's eyeing two more locations in Aventura and Boca. McDonnell seems to be planning a small pizza empire- opening one store every 60 days for the next three to five years leading to 30-plus pizzerias - and one that could be sold for a hefty profit.

"It's all about building a foundation," he said. "Anthony Coal Fired Pizza opened one store on federal highway, grew to 30 stores and sold for millions."

So here comes another chain, but instead of an out-of-state carpetbagger this one is home grown.

McDonnell in 2011, according to the South Florida Business Journal, owned 15 businesses with a total of 593 employees. Not limited to just food, he owns everything from a plumbing company to and advertising and marketing firm.

The company took over a Weston Cheeseburger Cheeseburge spacer, turning it into gourmet burger shop Burger Zone in 2012. It also owns East City Grille, Las Olas Wine Café and UdderSweets, a vintage candy store that also sells house made ice cream by the pound. DelVecchio's is also the official pizza sponsor of the BB&T Center, an advertising spot which until recently was held by Papa John's for about $250,000 a year.

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Well I can say that it's tough competition out there in the pizza biz. Anyone who uses Grande cheese is a star in my book, but that is not all to a great pizza. The crust is very important as is a nice tangy and slightly sweet sauce.

I am tired of hearing there is no good pizza or bagels or chicken wings in SoFla. Good gawd these items are oh so basic to make.


There is no good pizza to be found in South Florida.  It all is tasteless and slimy with grease.

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