Members of the Macomb County Chamber, elected officials and corporate staff from Benito's Pizza joined Steve Elias Tuesday in St. Clair Shores as he celebrated the grand opening of the chain's 23rd location.
Elias built the 1,800-square-foot pizza and ice cream shop next to Parkview Liquor and Wine Shop on Jefferson, which he has owned for four years.
Initially, he was looking to add a pizza restaurant but it evolved to include a ice cream shop. And after working with Community Services Director Christopher Reyes, and City Planner Liz Kodo, he decided to further develop the property to include outdoor seating and rezone an adjoining alley for parking.
"It has been a win-win situation," said Elias, as he described the process of working with the city and developing his business which has added 10 jobs to the neighborhood. "The community has come out to support us."
Elias said in the two weeks since he has opened, business has been brisk for the pizza shop, which offers a menu that includes pasta, subs, salads and a 24-inch pizza, and the ice cream shop.
The combination pizza and ice cream concept may be replicated by other Benito's locations around the region.