Loveland Reporter-Herald
Jul 5, 2013

LOVELAND -- An Iowa-based fast-casual restaurant chain has chosen Loveland for its first Colorado location.

Pizza Ranch, which serves pizza and "the country's best chicken" buffet-style, will build a restaurant next door to Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers off East Eisenhower Boulevard.

The 230-seat restaurant could open in December or early 2014, depending on city approvals, according to Ryan Achterhoff, chief administrative officer for Pizza Ranch and a partner in the Loveland franchise's ownership group.

He said his partners own four Pizza Ranch restaurants in southern Minnesota, where the market is pretty much saturated.

They looked at Colorado, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri as emerging market areas and settled on Northern Colorado.

The available lot just north of Mountain View High School landed the deal for Loveland.

If the first restaurant takes off in Loveland, the partners could build five or six more in Northern Colorado, Achterhoff said, opening No. 2 a year after the first.

"We're already in the process of looking for other real estate locations," he said Wednesday.

There are 176 Pizza Ranch restaurants, almost all of them franchises, and the chain hopes to open 20 to 25 more next year, Achterhoff said.

He believes the restaurant will fit well in Loveland.

"It's more of an upscale dining environment where family and friends can gather to enjoy a meal together," he said. "So it's different from a lot of the pizza places that focus on delivery and to-go."

Pizza Ranch will have a pickup window and will deliver, but Achterhoff said the focus will be on the dine-in experience.

The Pizza Ranch chain focuses on "community impact activities" at all its locations, he said, hosting fundraisers for local organizations and donating money to those groups.

The Loveland restaurant will bring in some managers from Minnesota and hire the rest of the management team and as many as 80 part-time workers from the Loveland area, Achterhoff said.

Jobs will be posted on, he said.

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