Oklahoma athletes plan pizza chain

Exterior of a Pie Five pizza restaurant. (Provided)

Billy Bajema and Josh Fields — who met in their youth in Norman and later played for the Oklahoma State University football team — plan to open several Pie Five restaurants this summer. The Dallas-based chain offers personalized pizzas that are baked and ready in less than five minutes. It began in 2011 and has 19 stores in five states with additional franchises in the works.

The Oklahoma franchisees are far from chumps or benchwarmers. Bajema retired from the National Football League in 2012 after playing for the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and the Baltimore Ravens. He was a member of the 2012 Ravens team that won the Super Bowl. Fields was a Major League Baseball first-round draft pick in 2004. He went on to play for the Chicago White Sox, the Kansas City Royals and the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

Bajema knew his professional sports career would not last forever. In the off-season, he began laying plans in place for a future business endeavor and studying business at Harvard University. Bajema, Fields and two other partners, Tyce Jones and Brandon Birdwell, formed Pistol Pies LLC, a nod to OSU’s mascot Pistol Pete.

“When I started researching the restaurant industry, I quickly learned that the fast, casual segment was the place to be,” Bajema said in a statement. “When Brandon and Josh told me about Pie Five Pizza, I was immediately impressed.

The operational model is excellent, the company’s leadership is top-notch and the food is fantastic. I can’t wait to bring the Pie Five revolution to Oklahoma.”

The brand approved the Oklahoma team for up to 10 franchise units in Oklahoma. They plan to open the first store in Oklahoma City this summer.

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