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Chick-fil-A’s Cathy tries his hand at pizza

ATLANTA Truett Cathy, the 87-year-old founder of the Chick-fil-A quick-service chain, is opening a pizza concept this week about 20 miles south of Atlanta. The concept, to be called Upscale Pizza, also will serve salads, soups, sandwiches, hot dogs and shakes, but not the chicken sandwiches Cathy developed 40 years ago, according to media reports.

Cathy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has no intention of parlaying the family-oriented pizza place into a chain. Instead, Cathy said, he will continue to focus on his 1,400-unit chicken chain, where he continues to serve as chairman and chief executive. He said he wanted to give the community of Fayetteville, Ga., an affordable family option and noted that it would be the last restaurant concept he would launch. Past endeavors include a coffee shop-like concept called Dwarf House, which predated Chick-fil-A.

Customers of Upscale Pizza reportedly will have a choice of self-service or table service, and the concept will have a car and motorcycle motif. Cathy is an avid car collector.

Upscale Pizza will be closed on Sundays and will not serve any alcohol, in keeping with Cathy’s policies for Chick-fil-A.

Those rules did not work well for Cathy at a higher-end concept he owned for more than five years in Port Orange, Fla. Cathy said he closed Marko’s two years ago because it was difficult to compete in that category without serving alcohol. However, he said because Ultimate Pizza would be more family-oriented restaurant, he feels it has a better chance of succeeding.

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