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Smashburger founder turns to fast-casual pizza

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Smashburger’s founder is launching yet another new fast-casual restaurant concept, this time centered on customized, oven-baked pizzas made and served within minutes of ordering.

Live Basil Pizza already plans more outlets following its opening Thursday in the Denver area. In a setup similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill, customers go through a line choosing what ingredients they want on their thin-crust pizzas before the dough goes in an oven that can cook a pizza in 150 seconds.

Co-founder Tom Ryan says he thinks fresh, fast pizzas made before a customer’s eyes is where the market is heading. A handful of shops, including 800 Degrees in Los Angeles, have similar concepts.

Ryan and former Quiznos CEO Rick Schaden also recently launched Tom’s Urban 24 in downtown Denver.



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