Emmy Squared isn’t done expanding yet.
The popular Detroit-style pizzeria founded by Matt and Emily Hyland — one that essentially pushed the genre into into New York pizza canon — is planning a growth tear that could include new locations on the Upper East Side, Midtown, or the Upper West Side, according to Nashville-based partner Howard Greenstone.
Nothing’s for sure yet, but as the company plots new outposts in Philly, D.C., Boston, and Nashville, Greenstone says the restaurant’s home base of New York will likely still get more locations, too.
“We want to be patient, but we also want to have a footprint up and down the East Coast,” says Greenstone, who became a partner at the company to assist with the expansion.
Ideally, Pizza Loves Emily wants to open as many as four in 2019 alone, a huge jump from the six the company already runs. Such ambitious goals are a far cry from how the Hylands started. In 2013, back when they were still a couple, the Hylands opened the first Emily as a petite Clinton Hill neighborhood restaurant. After both the pizza and Matt’s luxe burger became popular, things started to change.
By the time they opened the first Emmy Squared in Williamsburg in 2016, they’d started partnering with Ken Levitan, a Nashville restaurateur who works with musicians like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock, and Greenstone, who used to be a manager at Aquavit and went on to be CEO of Rosa Mexicano.
Though there have been hiccups since then with investors and the Hylands have since separated, now it’s the four of them plus angel investors involved in the expansion. As of last year, the company had more than $15 million in revenue.
“It’s pizza and it’s burgers,” Greenstone says. “It’s not Italian; it’s not Mexican; it’s not high end. They are two America staple foods. There’s a pretty good chance, economically, if we put the right business plan together ... we can be successful.”
The menu at future locations will mostly match the one in the East Village and Williamsburg. About 80 percent of it will be the same formula of square pies with sauce on top, while the rest will be specific to individual outposts.
And all of them will be about 75 to 100 seats, preferably not inside shopping malls and at locations that can attract a combination of locals and destination diners. Build out, Greenstone adds, should not exceed $1 million.
Pizza Loves Emily doesn’t have specific goals on the number of openings over the long term, but don’t be surprised to see them in even more locations.
“I really like the idea of building a company that folks are proud to work with,” Greenstone. “But I like to grow. Ultimately, the financial goal is get to a point where a larger investment group would be interested in taking us to the next level.”