New York-style pizza chain Anthony’s to open its first Colorado Springs store

More New York-style pizza is coming to Colorado Springs – this time by way of Denver.

Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta, whose 23 restaurants in greater Denver, Longmont and Castle Rock serve thin-crust pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads, will open its first Springs location in InterQuest Commons, southwest of InterQuest and Voyager parkways on the north side.

A July opening is being targeted for the nearly 1,900-square-foot restaurant, said Mick Cheshire, co-owner of CVK Electric in Colorado Springs. He and CVK partner Sherwin Van Kooten, and Sherwin’s sons Sean and Jason, will operate a local Anthony’s franchise.

The restaurant will be part of a multitenant building at InterQuest Commons with Omelets Etc. and a "gastropub" operated by the owner of Back East Bar and Grill.

InterQuest Marketplace, Victory Ridge and The Gateway at InterQuest also are being developed in the fast-growing area, where hotels, restaurants, stores, movie theater complexes and apartments are either open, under construction or on the drawing board.

Cheshire and Van Kooten, who own a car wash at InterQuest Commons, were wowed by the area’s explosive growth and wanted to launch another business. They investigated franchise opportunities and connected with Anthony’s president and CEO John Lebel, who said his company had been seeking a franchisee as it expands to Colorado Springs.

The Cheshire-Van Kooten group appealed to Anthony’s because of its "success and ability to be a really good partner in an entrepreneurial way," Lebel said. "And good community members."

Anthony’s also was impressed by the InterQuest area’s growth, Lebel said.

"The particular area we’re heading to, it’s been on the boom," he said. "Things are really progressing there. You can obviously see around that area, all the development, both residential and commercial."

While InterQuest is growing, Anthony’s will be one of the few, if not the only, pizza places in the immediate area, which will help establish the brand, Cheshire said.

Still, Anthony’s won’t be the only New York pizza in town. Borriello Brothers, Leon Gessi and Joey’s Pizza are among familiar names in Colorado Springs that tout the hand-tossed, thin crust pies, with wide slices famous for being folded while eaten.

Lebel acknowledges the competition, but expects Anthony’s to be welcomed in the Springs. The brand, founded in 1984, has been popular in northern Colorado and prides itself on quality food and community involvement, he said.

"Our product stands for itself," Lebel said. "We’ve been doing something right. The customers keep coming back and back."

His group doesn’t have a background in restaurants, but it’s hired a manager with 16 years experience in the industry, Cheshire said. All together, the restaurant will employ 10 to 15 people, he said. It will offer eat-in, carryout and delivery.

Cheshire expects his group will open three Anthony’s locations, and is looking for a second site north of downtown and near Colorado College.

"They’ve been around quite a while," Cheshire said, "and have a pretty loyal following."

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