Fast Casual Pizza, Salad Restaurant to Open in Dearborn

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Brera Pizza & Salad Co., a fast casual restaurant that will feature thin-crust pizza, salads, and wraps, will open May 10 in Dearborn. The restaurant is a joint venture between attorney Michael Jaafar, Sammy Salem, and Top of the Pontch chef Justin Vaiciunas.

Jaafar says the idea to open a restaurant came to him when he and his wife couldn’t find a restaurant that placed an emphasis on quality pizza as well as the salads.

“I wasn’t looking to be in the restaurant business, but my wife and I would always find ourselves trying to find a place to eat where it was fast casual,” Jaafar says. He says they would end up driving almost an hour outside of Dearborn to find thin-crust pizza or artisanal salads.

Jaafar says the 2,200 square foot restaurant, at 1002 S. Military St., off Michigan Avenue, will offer a variety of Neapolitan-style pizzas, such as a white pizza and margarita pizza, salads, such as quinoa and kale and roasted beet, and wraps, such as Caesar and spinach. There’s also the option for customers to create their own pizza, salad, or wrap. The average pizza costs about $7 and is cooked in a wood-burning oven.

The name, Brera, is derived from a district in Milan that is “known for its outdoor shops, cafes, and bustling social life,” Jaafar says. He wanted to create that same feel in his restaurant, so the co-creators spent $500,000 to give Brera Pizza & Salad Co. an industrial look, with concrete floors and an exposed ceiling. Jaafar says wood was sourced from Reclaim Detroit, an organization that rescues items from blighted homes in Detroit.

While there are no immediate plans to expand with other outlets, the owners say they are looking at more locations in metro Detroit.

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