Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (ROSS TAYLOR / HARTFORD COURANT / July 29, 2014)

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is reportedly expanding north to the Bay State. The New Haven original is looking to open in Brookline, Mass. next year, in the space currently occupied by The Fireplace restaurant.

The Fireplace issued a press release Tuesday, announcing the restaurant's Dec. 31 closing and an agreement to transfer the lease and full liquor license to Pepe's.

"As a resident of Washington Square, there are not many restaurants that I would be comfortable turning our space over to, but it is a dream to transfer our lease to Pepe's to let them build a new tradition here, and for them to introduce their outstanding product to Bostonians. I will be a frequent customer," said owner Jim Solomon - a New Haven native - in the release. (Jim Solomon, along with siblings Josh Solomon and Jennifer Goorno, are the owners of the New Britain Rock Cats.) 

David Ball, a representative for The Fireplace, said the parties have a signed agreement, subject to permitting and licensing. A representative for Pepe's said they were exploring the opportunity and that details and plans are still being worked out.

"We have...entered into an agreement to acquire the [Fireplace] space and look forward to beginning construction in early 2015 upon plan approval from the town. Fireplace will continue with their business until the end of 2014," Pepe's owners said in an email, through a public relations representative. 

"From now until the end of the year, the Frank Pepe team will be developing and submitting plans for their coal-fired pizza restaurant to the town and upon approval, hope to begin construction and the behind the scenes process of opening their new location," owners said in another statement, issued Tuesday night. They project a summer 2015 opening if all goes according to plan.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, established in 1925, is one of the country's most iconic names in pizza, regularly appearing on national "best of" lists. In addition to the flagship restaurant on Wooster Street in New Haven, the chain has locations in Danbury, Fairfield, Manchester, Mohegan Sun and West Hartford, as well as Yonkers, N.Y. pepespizzeria.com