World pizza champ Tony Gemignani prepares to franchise Slice House nationwide

San Francisco pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani is making it easier for customers to try his world-famous pizza.|

San Francisco pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani is making it easier for customers to try his world-famous pizza.

Gemignani, who owns Tony's Pizza Napoletana in North Beach, among several other restaurants including Tony’s of North Beach at Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park , has been working hard on launching a franchise program for his fast-casual business Slice House. The first franchise store is expected to open in Thousand Oaks by June.

"Transitioning Slice House to a franchise opportunity is yet another way I get to share my passion and impart my respect for the craft of pizza making," Gemignani said in a statement.

Slice House currently has two locations in San Francisco, in addition to Bay Area stores in San Leandro, Belmont and Walnut Creek. Gemignani told SFGATE that the Haight-Ashbury, San Leandro and Belmont locations of Slice House initially opened as licensed businesses but are now shifting into franchise stores. He added that the original North Beach Slice House and the Walnut Creek Slice House will continue to operate under his wing.

Gemignani hopes to debut at least 60 Slice House stores in California. About 24 are already in development, and 11 more are under franchise negotiations, according to Gemignani. His goal is to expand Slice House throughout the East Bay, South Bay and Peninsula, in addition to opening more locations in Southern California and outside the state. A specific timeline is unclear.

"Upcoming franchise locations are being built in Thousand Oaks, Folsom, Eastvale, Mountain View, and Simi Valley," Gemignani told SFGATE. "We are currently seeking to award franchises in Texas, Arizona, Utah, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon."

Slice House first opened in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood in 2010. The menu offers a trimmed-down version of Tony's Pizza Napoletana, which offers 12 different pizza styles. At Slice House, customers will find classic New York-, Sicilian-, grandma- and Detroit-style pies.

Slice House can also be spotted at sports arenas across California and Nevada, such as Chase Center and Allegiant Stadium.

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