Grimaldi's Pizzeria of New York City fame will open its first California location this spring in El Segundo, the company has announced.

The pizza chain that bakes its pies and calzones in coal-fired brick ovens will take over the Daily Grill site at 2121 Rosecrans Ave., which has been vacant for more than two years. With 280 seats, the eatery will be among Grimaldi's largest.

"After overwhelming demand by fans in California, our team searched the state and found the perfect location in El Segundo," said Joey Ciolli, president and chief executive officer of Grimaldi's. "We see a lot of opportunity in serving the people of California, and we are really excited to bring our New York-style pizzeria to this region."

The company will completely renovate the Daily Grill dining area, starting first with the construction of the chain's signature coal oven, spokeswoman Brittany Maroney said. "This is so that we can have it lit and burning weeks prior" to opening, she wrote in an email, adding that two ovens will serve the South Bay location.

The eatery is targeting a late spring opening and will feature a banquet room, patio and bar that will seat 20 people.

"We think it's huge, picking our location for a California launch," said Sherry Kramer of Continental Development, which manages the Rosecrans property. "I think it will be a nice addition."

Grimaldi's has restaurants in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, South Carolina and New Jersey, along with flagship sites in New York that are owned by Ciolli's father, Frank. He bought the naming rights from Patsy Grimaldi, who now operates a different coal-fired pizza restaurant in the same Brooklyn space that formerly housed Grimaldi's.

Maroney said the Rosecrans Avenue pizzeria will be the first of six planned California locations.

kristin.agostoni@dailybreeze.com

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