Incredible Pizza reclaims Warr Acres site

By Molly M. Fleming

The Journal Record


WARR ACRES – A new entertainment center is coming to the city, but many residents will be familiar with the concept.


Springfield, Missouri-based America’s Incredible Pizza Company is returning with an even bigger footprint than the last time it was in the metro, said Scott Axon, an advisory member and head of franchise development.


It will occupy the 68,000-square-foot Gatti Town building, which is now closed.


It’s been at least five years since America’s Incredible Pizza left Warr Acres. Axon said Gatti Town’s owner was previously an America’s Incredible Pizza franchisee.


When his Incredible Pizza agreement ended, he became a Gatti Town franchisee. He put the Gatti Town business up for sale this year, and America’s Incredible Pizza purchased the assets, Axons said. He could not disclose a purchase price. The new Incredible Pizza will be corporate-run.


“More of our stores are corporate stores now,” he said. “This will be much bigger and nicer.”


Incredible Pizza will take most of the 125,096-square-foot building. Life.Church is moving to a new 36,601-square-foot building on Northwest Expressway, where Hemispheres once stood. Rachel Leonard with Life.Church said the congregation plans to be in the building by December.


Axon said Incredible Pizza will leave some space in the building’s front that could be leased by another church.


“We’ve had some churches that we’ve had communication with,” Axon said. “If that doesn’t work out, we’ll take the whole building as an Incredible Pizza.”


The company is spending nearly $5 million to renovate the space. The entertainment center will have a roller coaster, go-karts, bowling, a bounce house, an expanded bumper car area, a Tilt-a-Whirl ride, laser tag, and video games.


On the restaurant side, Incredible Pizza has a pasta and pizza bar, with gluten-free and gourmet health options. Axon said the company brought in a four-star chef that helped create the healthier pizzas.


The entire venue is alcohol- and smoke-free. In the years that Incredible Pizza has been out of the metro, Dave & Buster’s and Main Event entertainment centers have moved into the area. HeyDay in Norman also offers laser tag, arcade games and bowling.


Axon said Incredible Pizza is more family-oriented.


“Our niche is very different than Main Event or Dave & Buster’s,” he said. “We’re focused on families with kids between 4 and 5 years old or 18 and 19 years old. Main Event and Dave & Busters are alcohol, sports-bar environments. We’re a whole-family concept.”


Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Retail Recruiter Tammy Fate agreed with Axon. She previously worked in Tulsa and visited the restaurant there. She also had Axon speak on an International Council of Shopping Centers panel about entertainment concepts.


She said the Northwest Expressway site is closer to families on the city’s west side than the other entertainment venues.


“It’s very kid-friendly,” she said. “It’s a great concept. I think it’s a different target audience (than Dave & Buster’s or Main Event). Dave & Buster’s is more adult-based. Main Event is a bridge between the adult crowd and a kid-friendly atmosphere. But America’s Incredible Pizza is a more kid-based environment.”


The Gatti Town building is owned by Praxis Development. Axon praised CEO Kory Warr for the newer frontage development, including Slim Chickens and Andy’s Frozen Custard. Warr said he’s out of frontage parcel spaces.


“I’m very glad about America’s Incredible Pizza being back in the building,” he said. “Incredible Pizza are great operators.”