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Fort Lauderdale’s very hot North Federal corridor is shaping up for a serious chain pizza showdown.
On the west side of the street is Mellow Mushroom, that chain with a hippie vibe and lots of history in Delray. On the other is MidiCi, an upstart from California that’s hoping the food is as good as the experience.
MidiCi opens Friday, March 24, at 510 N. Federal Highway, just a couple doors north of Fresh Market. The chain is the creation of Amit Kleinberger, who made a fortune with Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt stores and then a name for himself with a couple of appearances on “Undercover Boss.”
In South Florida, the concept is being opened by John Davimos, who met Kleinberger years ago as a customer at the original Menchie’s location in Los Angeles. He was taken by Kleinberger’s go-get-‘em spirit, and so when MidiCi came along, Davimos said he was taken by the idea.
“It was just such an impressive concept that I had to sign up the next day after I heard about it,” Davimos said.
He says what caught his attention was more than the food – it was the overall feel of the restaurant, which aims to make friends out of its customers.
There are no TVs, and the tables are closer together than most places, spurring more conversations. And the corporate philosophy in general is about friendliness, Davimos said.
“Their thing is to try to get you to make friends, to spend time with friends, to be with friends,” he said.
In addition to the Fort Lauderdale location, Davimos has signed on to open three more locations in Boca Raton, western Broward, and Plantation. He has two locations in mind already and is working on leases.
As for the food, the pizza is made from dough mixed within sight, in a glass-walled room that’s kept at a constant 61 degrees. The dough remains there right until it’s thrown into a Naples-built oven that reaches 1,000 degrees. It’s that temperature change that allows the pizza to reach the perfect doneness, Davimos promises.
But he says there’s lots more to appreciate than pizza. His wife, not a pizza eater, wasn’t excited about the concept at first.
“Now she’s eating there three times a week,” Davimos says. “She just loves the salad and the wine selection.”
MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company; 510 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale
(Photos courtesy MidiCi)
Fort Lauderdale’s very hot North Federal corridor is shaping up for a serious chain pizza showdown. On the west side of the street is Mellow Mushroom, that chain with a hippie vibe and lots of history in Delray. On the other is MidiCi, an upstart from California that’s hoping the food is as good as the experience.