JACKSONVILLE, FL (Jan. 29, 2024) — Chef Tom Gray has announced his newest concept, Electric Dough Pizza Co.™, which will be located in the historic San Marco Theatre building at 1996 San Marco Boulevard. Transition of the lease, originally held by restaurateur Al Mansur, was finalized in January.
Electric Dough Pizza Co. will be the counterpart to Gray’s two full-service restaurants, Prati Italia™ which opened in 2020 at the Markets at Town Center, and Town Hall™ which debuted in 2017, just a few storefronts from the San Marco Theatre location. The San Marco Theatre was built in 1938 and was designed by architect Roy Benjamin. TSG Realty, the owner of the building, has initiated interior and infrastructure renovations with a commitment to maintaining the historic facade. Custom interior design planning for Electric Dough Pizza Co. is underway, and the restaurant is targeted to open by the fourth quarter of 2024.
Recalling that he and his wife enjoyed countless date nights at the San Marco Theatre and that their son celebrated several birthdays by seeing movies such as Star Wars on the big screen with his friends, Gray understands the importance of ensuring the building remains accessible to the community.
“This location has been a neighborhood cornerstone visually and historically for nearly 90 years. I am thrilled to be able to make it come alive once again to welcome locals and visitors alike,” said Gray. “San Marco is my home, and we are inspired by the opportunity to preserve the soul of the building and breathe new life into the interior with stylistic touches that mesh our concept with the beauty and presence of the theatre.”
For the new restaurant, the stars of the show will be Gray’s rectangular artisan pizzas featuring a Roman-style dough with Detroit-style crispy, cheesy edges. This particular pizza has grown in popularity not only at Prati Italia, but also at local retailers where they are sold, such as Native Sun in Jacksonville Beach. The name Electric Dough references the Italian-imported electric oven that the pizzas are baked in and the handmade, long-fermented dough, which produces a craveable, crunchy crust and has toppings that cover the pizza from corner to corner.
The restaurant will focus on high quality “better for you” ingredients that leave guests satisfied but not stuffed. Guests will also enjoy seasonally-inspired fresh salads and a rotating selection of gelato and sorbets with flavors such as Salted Caramel, Italian Espresso and Limoncello. Beverages will include a full bar, domestic and imported beer, and wine, along with craft sodas and zero-proof offerings.
“The pandemic helped us realize that this pizza is so unique it can stand on its own as a new concept. Locating Electric Dough Pizza Co. in San Marco is ideal because this concept is 100 percent focused on being an inviting, lively and family-oriented addition to the neighborhood,” said Gray.
In addition to the beautiful interior and patio dining spaces, a retail area will feature take-and-bake frozen pizzas for guests to prepare at home. Fresh pastas, from-scratch sauces, housemade pimento cheese and other retail products will round out the retail offerings. The concept at its heart is for families, groups and couples to enjoy a fantastic meal made all the more memorable with the historic setting, ambiance and fresh flavors.
For design, Gray has engaged ai3 for a fourth collaborative effort. Founded in 2004, ai3’s Atlanta studio practices architecture, interior design, graphics and branding across a wide spectrum of geographies and industries, including hospitality, restaurant, corporate amenities and residential. Through the exchange of ideas and thoughtful client dialogue, ai3’s studio has produced design solutions for Microsoft Atlanta, the Atlanta Hawks, Chick-fil-A, numerous James Beard nominated and awarded chefs, and IHG and Marriott hotel brands across the country.
- Chef Tom Gray will be opening a handmade pizza-centric, fast casual restaurant, Electric Dough Pizza Co., which will be located in the historic San Marco Theatre building at 1996 San Marco Boulevard.
About Chef Tom Gray and CuliVino
Tom Gray grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Professional experience in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and the Napa Valley informed his full-circle approach to his craft, prioritizing sustainability, seasonality, and eco-friendly practices. With two James Beard: Best Chef South nominations and countless other awards to his name, Gray continues to innovate in the kitchen as the Chef/Owner of Prati Italia and Town Hall restaurants in Jacksonville. Gray is also the co-owner of CuliVino Hospitality Consulting and Management, a restaurant management and consulting firm he founded with his wife and business partner, Sarah Marie Johnston, along with Chef Albert Fuentes.
CuliVino Hospitality Consulting and Management specializes in existing business consultation, new concept development, and operations management. For additional information, visit www.culivino.com.
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