LIT Pizza plans to open its eighth location late next year in Denham Springs, one of more than 20 stores owner Ozzie Fernandez plans to open across Louisiana after receiving an investment from a local group led by attorney Gordon McKernan.
Fernandez recently signed a lease on a 3,000-square-foot yet-to-be-built space in the Juban Square Shopping Center, located north of Interstate 12 across from Juban Crossing and next to a future Starbucks. Another Fernandez concept, Izzo’s Illegal Burrito, will open in the same center, on the opposite end cap.
The store—known for its wood-fired brick oven—would mark the first LIT Pizza to open in Livingston Parish.
“It’s a growing market that we’ve been wanting to enter for quite some time now, and then the opportunity presented itself,” says Fernandez, who opened LIT Pizza’s first location in 2016 near LSU.
The size or terms of the investment, or who, other than McKernan, is part of the local finance group, are immediately unclear. Fernandez, in a prepared statement, said the McKernans regularly dine at LIT Pizza, and he and the well-known attorney were friends before developing a natural partnership.
While he’d eventually like to expand his build-your-own-pizza concept to neighboring states, Fernandez says he sees vast potential for growth in most of Louisiana’s large and midsized markets.
In the meantime, Fernandez plans his pace of opening up to three Izzo’s locations annually, possibly clustering a few in the same centers as his planned LIT Pizzas. He’s also considering engaging in internal development, where he’d open a shopping center filled with several of his businesses.
The restaurant already has locations opening in Baton Rouge and Brusly later this year. Several new locations throughout the state are slated to be announced soon.