Openings and Closings

Naked Pizza expanding into Denver and Boulder

New Orleans-based Naked Pizza has grown quickly, thanks to a savvy, semi-political social-marketing strategy and even savvier mission, "to transform the nutritional profile of the fast food industry by providing an all-natural pizza," according to its website.

The company started in a Katrina-ravaged area of the Big Easy in 2006 and began offering franchises in 2009. It currently has about fifteen locations across the country (and in Dubai); its website claims that Naked Pizza has received about 5,000 requests from would-be franchisees worldwide.

And now it's about to hit the Front Range: The chain is slated to open locations at 2205 East Colfax Avenue and 1629 28th Street in Boulder.

The shop crafts pies from all-natural, healthy ingredients, including agave fiber, prebiotics and probiotics, and such toppings as black beans and roasted peppers and sausages made with no preservatives or additives. There's also an "Ancestral Blend" crust made from ten grains, quinoa and spelt among them.

"Probiotics are the good stomach bugs that you need," explains Gay Burke, the Denver-area Naked Pizza franchisee, "but they're bacteria. You have to feed them. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics."

While it may sound wonky, the food also "tastes great," she says. "We're really out to show people you can make choices that are healthy."

In fact, Burke is so sold on the concept that she plans to open nine Naked Pizzas in Denver over the next three years. "I'm so committed to the overall mission," she says. "It was a unique opportunity for me to get involved with something that I really identify with."

Those all-natural pizzas will all be available for carry-out or delivery only; none of the Naked Pizza stores are dine-in.

Burke's first Denver shop is scheduled to open in May. The Boulder outpost, which is owned by a different franchisee, should start slinging pies next month.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk