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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Virginia-based pizza chain to open downtown Fredericksburg location

Benny’s, a Virginia-based pizza chain, has purchased the former Old Town Grill & Cafe building at 722 Caroline St. in downtown Fredericksburg and plans on opening a location there by early fall.

The 1,339-square-foot space was purchased for $375,000 through Remax Legacy agent Larry Nelson from Byun Hae In and Soon Rye, who also own Mister Dee’s on Lafayette Boulevard.

Old Town Grill & Cafe operated in the space for 10 years before closing in 2012.

The Fredericksburg Benny’s location, to be called Benny Vitale’s, will serve “quality New York-style pizza by the slice,” according to owner Zach Toth.

Benny Vitali’s will be the seventh location in the rapidly expanding chain. The Charlottesville location is slated to open next week and a Smith Mountain Lake Benny’s opened in June.

Toth and his business partner Chris Brown considered a location in Richmond’s Cary Town as well before deciding on downtown Fredericksburg.

“We really liked the feel of Fredericksburg,” Toth said. “There are open walkways and we like to focus on old downtown areas.”

Blacksburg’s Benny Marzano’s, the first of the restaurants, was opened three years ago by Toth and Brown. Other locations include and additional Blacksburg restaurant, Harrisonburg, Radford and Roanoke.

Each of the restaurants has a different second name that reflects the character of the location.

The name “Vitali’s” comes from Riva San Vitali, a municipality in Switzerland where Toth and the soon-to-be manager of the Fredericksburg restaurant studied abroad together while in college at Virginia Tech.

Check out the Benny’s website for more information on the chain.