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Naked Pizza opens tomorrow on East Colfax

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New Orleans-based Naked Pizza made it a mission to give pizza a healthier image, starting with a probiotic crust chock-full of grains such as spelt and quinoa, and finishing with toppings cut from fresh ingredients.

The idea caught on quickly: The pizza chain has franchised across the country -- and crossed the border into Dubai -- since it was founded in 2006. And starting tomorrow, you'll be able to get a slice of Naked Pizza right here in Denver.

Franchisee Gay Burke is about to officially open a spot on East Colfax, the first of nine she has rights to in the city. The shop, which was originally slated to debut in May, was "delayed by construction," says Anne Zilvitis, vice president of marketing for Naked Pizza in Denver. "I wish I could tell you a more exciting story."

But it's ready to go now: The joint has been in soft-opening mode since last week, she notes, and it'll start showing Denver diners the naked truth tomorrow at 11 a.m.

"We're not just a regular tak-out and delivery joint," she explains. "The best word I can use to describe it is 'artisan.' We use fresh ingredients, and they don't come in chopped already -- we do that on-site daily. Our crust is hand-stretched, and it contains our ancestral blend of grains like quinoa and spelt, which makes the pizza healthier and taste better." For a side of more health, salads are also available, and the dough is also made into breadsticks.

There is another Naked Pizza already open on Boulder's 28th Street, but that one isn't owned by Burke. And although she has the rights to expand in Denver, for now she's concentrating on the Colfax location -- with one caveat. "Gay bought the rights to this pizza and the frozen line," Zilvitis says. So she's also responsible for those Naked frozen pizzas now available at Sunflower Markets across the country, including here in Denver.

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