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Theo's Eyes Elmwood

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  Theo's Neighborhood Pizza is expanding with a third location in the works in Elmwood. Construction is underway on a new strip mall near the entrance to the Elmwood Shopping Center on South Clearview Parkway, and Theo's is slated to begin making pizza there this summer.

  "I think this will be a big stepping stone for us to have three locations," says Theo's co-owner Jammer Orintas. "Eventually, we'd love to have another one downtown in the CBD, one on the West Bank, maybe one in Slidell."

  Expansion always was part of the blueprint for Theo's, though Orintas says Hurricane Katrina derailed those plans for a while. He and fellow college friends Greg Dietz and Ted Neikirk opened their first Theo's (4218 Magazine St., 894-8554; www.theospizza.com) less than a year before Katrina struck, and they say the chance to reopen quickly after the flood was an important part of establishing their brand.

  The Magazine Street Theo's was among the first wave of restaurants to reopen and the partners watched their new business skyrocket as returning residents filled any eatery then operating. In 2009, the partners opened a much larger second shop in Mid-City (4024 Canal St., 302-1133; www.theospizza.com).

  Orintas says their next expansion was guided in part by emails they received from people living around Harahan and River Ridge suggesting they add a location in the Elmwood area. The Elmwood Theo's will be about the same size as the Mid-City restaurant, and Orintas says it will have more outdoor seating, a larger bar and a bigger draft beer selection.

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