Pastalini founder Avi Gerassi. Courtesy photo
Pastalini founder Avi Gerassi. Courtesy photo

A San Diego businessman is taking his restaurant concept to the next level.

Avi Gerassi, founder of Pastalini Restaurant Group in Miramar, recently announced his plans to franchise into 31 states. The franchise will be available to prospective business owners in states such as Alaska, Massachusetts and Colorado.

Pastalini, which opened its first location in 2008, is popular for its “pasta your way” concept where customers choose the ingredients for their own pasta and see it made in front of them. The restaurant also offers pizza, panini, calzones and salads.

Gerassi, who used to work in the video gaming industry, said he opened the restaurant after deciding he wanted to do something more fulfilling.

“I thought Pastalini would be a great concept,” said Gerassi, who lives in Scripps Ranch with his wife and four children. “Pasta is a comfort food for everybody. It can be done very simply or elevated depending on how you want it. I wanted to bring something that would have healthy options at an affordable price so that any family could come.”

And, his restaurant has thrived in the last eight years. Gerassi said that success is due to hardwork and honesty.

“I’m staying honest to what I do,” Gerassi said. “I’m not trying to sell any gimmicks. I’m just selling good, wholesome food that tastes delicious. I knew that if I wasn’t going to give all my heart into this business, I wasn’t going to make it.”

Now, Gerassi hopes he’ll sell the first franchise in six to eight months in Southern California. In five years, he hopes to have about 12 other locations selling “pasta your way.”

“I think Pastalini is something that works anywhere and it fits any type of customer,” Gerassi said. “It can be sophisticated but it’s in a casual environment with inexpensive pricing. I think this is a great opportunity for anyone who is wanting to go into the restaurant industry.”

The initial investment necessary to begin operations of a single Pastalini Restaurant franchise is estimated to be between $224,964 to $515,262.

The Quick Service Restaurant industry is poised to grow 6 percent in 2016. It’s also the largest sector for franchise employment at 38 percent, according to the International Franchise Association.

For more information on Pastalini, go to