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GREEN LANTERN PIZZA OPENS THEIR 7TH LOCATION

Green Lantern Pizza is preparing to serve up its seventh location this fall while owners cook up a brand refresh and plans to franchise the popular pizza place.

The new restaurant and bar is pegged for Berkley in the former space of Sila Italian Dining & Pizza, which closed at the end of 2017. Green Lantern will open in the 5,200-square-foot space off 12 Mile Road by early October, hopefully, but "definitely by the end of the year," said co-owner John Spreitzer.

Spreitzer and his siblings/business partners bought the building for $750,000 after the previous Italian restaurant closed. Spreitzer said they are investing an additional $1.4 million to build out the space. Oakland Township-based Black Diamond Construction is the general contractor, and Detroit-based Rossetti is the architect.

The new location will have a full bar and nearly identical menu to its flagship shop on 15 Mile Road in Clinton Township. However, the city of Berkley denied their request for a patio.

The restaurant — owned by the same family since opening in 1955 — focuses on gourmet pizzas, round, square and thin crust. It also offers subs, sandwiches and salads. Owners are looking at introducing pasta dishes at the new location.

In the past six months, the company has invested $75,000 to update its website, including its ordering platform, as well as refresh its logo for the first time in more than 15 years.

"We're trying to build a good, solid base in metro Detroit," Spreitzer said.

Green Lantern Exterior Rendering

After opening its newest location, owners will shift focus to franchising the company's carry-out model. Berkley will be its third sit-down location. The others are carry-out, and that's where Spreitzer sees growth.

"I know it's funny. Detroit is such a huge pizza market," he said. "I feel Detroit still has a market for upper echelon sort of pizza."

Metro Detroit certainly is not starved of pizza options. Besides big chains, such as Detroit-based Little Caesars and Ann Arbor-based Domino's Pizza, and medium-size chains, such as Detroit-based staples Buddy's Pizza and PizzaPapalis, there are new shops popping up regularly, serving styles from floppy dough to specialty-fermented pies.

Still, Spreitzer thinks there's plenty more appetite for quick, gourmet pizza. He said he thinks the fast expansion and recent national focus of Buddy's Pizza will leave opportunity in the local market.

Spreitzer said he is working to draft a franchise agreement document but doesn't expect the company's first franchise location to open for at least a couple of years. He said once that happens, he would like to see two locations open per year, and then three or four and so forth.

The company's overall revenue in 2018 was around $13.5 million, representing 5-10 percent annual growth for the past few years. Owners expect to tack on another $3 million to $4 million in sales once the Berkley restaurant opens.

"Slow growth is prime for us," Spreitzer said.