The Colorado-based Garlic Knot pizza restaurants have a new location in Lakewood for afficianados of New York pizza.
The restaurant is in the Mission Trace Shopping Center, 3200 S. Wadsworth Blvd., and opened on Feb. 1.
The branch was opened by Christopher Rome, who has been an employee at the Garlic Knot's original Littleton location for eight years before deciding to set up a shop of his own.
"I decided to take the bull by the horns, and put my career under my own control," he said. "I've been given this opportunity to make something that can be part of the community."
Garlic Knot started in Littleton in 2001, and started offering franchising opportunities in 2010. Since then it has opened six locations in Colorado and Florida, and have at least another four slated for opening in 2013.
According to Joe Giampierto, franchise developer for Garlic Knot, it's very important to the company that the right people are opening new locations.
"The people have to really want to be an owner, and has to have worked in the business before they can become one," he said. "Once we find that person, we help with site selection, kitchen set-up and everything else they need to get started."
Giampierto said that franchising has been so successful for Garlic Knot because the restaurant offers a middle-ground between take-out places and full Italian restaurants.
Features like an ice cream bar, parties where children can build their own pizzas and spirit nights where community groups can raise money are all part of the way the chain is separating itself from other restaurants.
Rome said he's been wanting to franchise for years, and it has been thrilling to see his dreams come to life in front of him.
The location began construction in early October, and he said that already the restaurant has received a warm welcome from the community.
"We're going to be open as a place for people to do fundraisers and spirit nights," he said. "It's been great walking through the restaurant and seeing a full dining room."
For more information on Garlic Knot and it's other locations, visit www.garlicknotpizza.com.