When the Arvada Larkburger opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday, it will be the home-grown chain's sixth location. Within a year, Larkburger president Adam Baker hopes it is just one of eleven outposts in Colorado.
And at some point in the near future, Baker wants Larkburger to break out of the square state altogether.
Larkburger got its start at Larkspur, a high-end restaurant in Vail. The $16.50 Larkburger was a hit at Larkspur, so in 2006 chef/owner Thomas Salamunovich decided to create a fast-casual restaurant serving up Larkburgers, fries and shakes.
"We had always hoped we would be able to expand," says Baker, a general manager at Larkspur who was one of the founding partners at Larkburger, "and as we built the first restaurant, we envisioned it would be able to expand, as far as menu type and restaurant build."
After opening the first Larkburger in Edwards, the partners moved outside the Vail Valley and opened a spot in Boulder in 2009. Locations in Greenwood Village and Fort Collins followed; Washington Park got a Larkburger this spring. On Saturday, Arvada will start sizzling.
"It's been a successful business and it's extremely rare that you mention the name Larkburger to someone in Colorado and they say they don't know what it is or don't like it," says Kelly Patton, public relations director for Larkburger. "It's really encouraging."
So encouraging that Baker wants to continue this rapid expansion.
"We would like to add up to five restaurants in Colorado over the next year," he says. "Primarily in the Front Range -- anywhere between Boulder and Colorado Springs."
And if that expansion goes well, Baker would like to open locations outside of Colorado, though he's not naming any specific sites right now.
"It's more philosophical at this point, but at one point we'd like to expand out-of-state," says Baker. "We want to make sure we've really established a good presence in Colorado and had solid success here before we go anywhere else. We want to make sure that we're a little bit of a name brand here."
Larkburger has several investors who have helped its rise, but Baker also credits the restaurant itself.
"We focus on our food as our primary concern," he says. "I think guests pick up on that. I think our guests also appreciate what we do with the environment and like the overall look and feel."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.