Next month, Nick Costanzo will open a Marco's Pizza at 8286 Northfield Boulevard; it will be the sixth Marco's Pizza in Colorado. (A fifth store, owned by a franchisee, is slated to open in Louisville April 25.) "I grew up in Ohio," Costanzo says. "I moved out here and saw there was something missing." Specifically, the pizza he'd liked in Toledo, where Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco had opened a spot in the '70s specializing in hand-tossed pizza that wasn't New York style, wasn't deep-dish Chicago style, and has since grown to 97 locations. Looking for a new venture, Costanzo decided to import a taste of home. "I've taken the Marco's product and given it a little Denver flavor," he explains. "The restaurants out here, people demand a different style."
If not a different name. Costanzo says he wasn't aware of another Marco's when he came to town, and doesn't think the dueling names will cause confusion. "There's a $30 billion pizza industry," he says. "To me, anybody that makes a quality pizza product is a competitor."
Mark Dym, the owner of Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza, isn't particularly worried about any confusion; he's overcome bigger hurdles. "I get to this town, I don't know a soul," he says. "I came here with this whole coal-fired-pizza concept." And he picked a perfect place to open his first namesake store in the summer of 2008: the 2100 block of Larimer Street, which is hotter than the pizza ovens he imported from Italy.
Soon after he opened that Marco's, Dym got a letter from a company in Ohio, which said that it had a trademark on the Marco's Pizza name and was planning on opening some stores in Colorado -- where Dym had also trademarked the name. Attorneys for the two Marco's outfits traded letters for a while, and ultimately they just agreed to disagree. "Our product is so completely different," Dym says. "They're a delivery service."
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Seven weeks ago, Dym opened a second Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria in another spot that's getting hot: the Vallagio project at Inverness, off I-25 at Dry Creek. "We're not as busy as downtown, but close," he says. "It's a different demographic. There are a lot of rooftops down there...."
And people living under those rooftops who are unlikely to confuse Marco's Coal-Fired with Marco's Pizza...much less Osteria Marco.