New pizza restaurant opens, sign of Grand Junction’s growth

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A new pizza place opened up shop today off of Highway 6 and 50 and local experts say we’re likely to see more franchises put down their roots in Grand Junction.

Earlier today, there was a line out the door of folks waiting for a free slice to celebrate the grand opening.

Smokin’ Oak is Iowa-based Pizza chain focused on fresh ingredients and wood fired pizza. Franchisee Bob Marolf has lived in Grand Junction for fifteen years and says this restaurant is something that the community really needs. The GJ Chamber of Commerce says that as we can expect more of our favorite chain restaurants to pop up in Grand Junction—especially as we’re seeing the city continue to grow.

“Looking at the economy in 2020, what we’re seeing—at least the early indications are—we are going to see net in-migration, we’re going to continue to see job growth across all industry sectors. I think that will feed in to the restaurant industry over all,” says Diane Schwenke, President of GJ Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber credits the sustained growth we’re had over the past couple years in giving folks the confidence to start a new businesses or open a franchise.

As Grand Junction is being recognized more and more as a tourist destination, the chamber predicts growth in the restaurant and hospitality industries.

Smokin’ Oak management says they’re already looking for a second Grand Junction location in 2020.