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Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill opens in Glendale; Highland Square is next

The ever-expanding

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill,

a home-grown, fast-casual restaurant chain, just opened its seventh location at 600 South Colorado Boulevard in the newly-renovated Cherry Creek Hotel, and plans to open eight more Colorado locations in 2010.

The newest location is next to a Panera Bread, which makes sense since Centennial-based Garbanzo is a joint effort between Alon Mor, who founded the concept three years ago, and Ken Rosenthal, who owns the Panera franchise rights for Colorado and Ohio and operates 74 of the company's restaurants in the two states.

Garbanzo serves pitas, shwarma, falafel hummus and other mixed Mediterranean specialties with a healthy (no trans fat, no preservatives) bent. "Denver is the perfect demographic for this kind of healthy cuisine," says company spokeswoman Carol Toffolon.

The next opening is slated for April in the former Peaberry Coffee at 3453 West 32nd Avenue, in Highland Square. After that, Garbanzo will open restaurants in Colorado Springs, Lone Tree and at 2466 South Colorado.

Last October, the company announced that it would begin selling franchise rights in other states. According to Toffolon, Garbanzo is now close to signing its first franchisee.

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