Colorado's homegrown chains continue to expand both locally and across the country. Larkburger got its start in Colorado in 2006 with a fast-casual spinoff of Thomas Salamunovich’s Vail fine-dining destination, Larkspur Restaurant. Since then, the company has added eleven other burger spots throughout the state. But early next year, the first out-of-state Larkburger will open in Overland Park, Kansas, the first of several planned for the Kansas City metro area.
Kansas City appears to be a desirable test market for Colorado brands looking to take business nationwide. Last year, Pizzeria Locale, with two Denver fast-casual pizzerias to its name (in addition to the more upscale Boulder original), added a new location in Kansas City and has plans to build two more: one will join Larkburger in Overland Park and the other will open in the suburb of Oak Park. In the meantime, Pizzeria Locale just debuted earlier this week in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will soon get company with another in nearby Mason.
Closer to home, another pizzeria is continuing its slow but steady expansion. Racca's Pizzeria Napoletana, which recently changed its name from Marco's Coal Fired Pizza, will open a third metro-area location after the original on Larimer Street and the second in Englewood's Vallagio development. The new member of the family will open in April in the Colorado Mills shopping center (which means that West Colfax could land an eatery on our next Best Restaurants on Colfax Avenue list). Racca's is also expanding beyond Colorado borders with an outpost in Casper, Wyoming, which is also expected to open this spring.
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The number of Noodles & Company stores across the country can be measured in the hundreds, but all of them can trace their roots back to the original Cherry Creek shop that opened in 1995. Although that location is long gone, the noodle company continues to look to Colorado for growth. A new branch just opened this week at 14375 Orchard Parkway in Westminster. Along with the usual array of international pasta dishes, Noodles & Company is pushing its new Korean meatballs, made with gochujang barbecue sauce. If Korean cuisine is new to you, the company — which states that it is the first national chain to feature gochujang — will even help you pronounce the name of the sauce.