Months after losing its Cap Hill lease after clashing with its landlord, Sexy Pizza has found a new spot to operate nearby.
Co-owner Kyle Peters told BusinessDen the local chain will open a new restaurant at 1660 N. Pearl St. in Uptown, about a mile away from its original location at 1018 E. 11th Ave.
Sexy Pizza opened at the Cap Hill address in 2007, but had to vacate last July after its landlord declined to renew the business’ lease.
Peters attributed the decision to fellow co-owner Kayvan Khalatbari’s public denouncement of the landlord’s decision to place large rocks outside in the right of way along the street, a landscaping choice used to deter illegal camping.
Peters said Sexy Pizza even offered to pay double its previous rent for the Cap Hill site if it would mean a lease extension.
“In less than 10 weeks we were forced out of a spot that we had been in for 15 years, and had paid rent on time, every time, for 15 years,” Peters said.
Since closing in Cap Hill, Sexy Pizza has attempted to serve the neighborhood from the delivery-only CloudKitchens at 810 Vallejo St. in Lincoln Park. Peters said he and co-owners Khalatbari, Eric Johnson and Jeff Shanahan haven’t decided whether to keep operating the “ghost kitchen” after opening in Uptown.
Sexy Pizza also has three other locations in Denver, and one in the southern Colorado town of Trinidad.
Sexy Pizza shouldn’t have landlord issues in Uptown. Public records show the building was purchased in October for $950,000 by 1660 Pearl LLC, an entity formed by Peters.
The building is 2,894 square feet. Peters said 1,000 square feet will be used as a restaurant, with the remainder serving as office space for the company.
“It’s obviously going to cost time and money to build out and renovate, but in the end it’s going to be our space,” he said.
Peters said it was too early to project an opening date.
Sexy Pizza has roughly 100 employees. Cap Hill employees were offered jobs at the ghost kitchen or the company’s other locations, and Peters said he expects to hire for the Uptown location.
Asked about future growth beyond that, Peters said the company is dialed in on Pearl Street for now.
“Our focus is on this particular location because it’s extremely important to us to get our roots back down where we originally started,” Peters said.