Fazoli's Opens First Travel Plaza Unit

Several more in development with debut of Fairmont, W.Va., Par Mar location

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Fazoli's has debuted its first unit in a travel plaza, marking an additional direction for the Italian quick-service restaurant chain.

The new store, which celebrated its grand opening April 5, is located at an interstate exit near Fairmont, W.Va. Par Mar Stores, a division of Par Mar Oil Co., the franchisee, has agreed to open two more Fazoli's at other travel plazas in West Virginia and Ohio within the next two years.

Travel centers represent a major growth opportunity for Fazoli's, said Carl T. Howard, president and CEO. Noting that larger national brands are saturated in most travel plazas, he said, "We're the best-in-class option for travel plazas in many cases."

He added, "Travel centers are changing, and consumers are using them differently. They are not just off the freeway anymore, as more petroleum owners are expanding their locations, both freeway and intercity, to include retail and foodservice. Travelers are looking for an option that is similar to a full service experience that is not a diner. For the local guests, Fazoli's offers a 'one-stop-shop' where you can get your gas and a great home meal replacement option."

Sandra Morgenstern, Par Mar president and COO, said the company is looking into the possibility of adding more Fazoli's units in some of the 50 travel centers where it operates. Fazoli's also has a three-unit development agreement with travel center operator CCreations LLC of New Whiteland, Ind. The first one is scheduled to open later this year in the Indianapolis market.

The newly opened restaurant seats 38, is about 1,800 square feet and offers dining-in, carryout and drive-thru services. It features Fazoli's full fast, fresh Italian menu. Signature items include an array of pastas and lasagna, Chicken Parmigano, fresh chopped salads, pizza, open-face flatbread Piada sandwiches, Submarinos—oven-baked sandwiches on ciabatta bread, desserts and a new line of pastas and flatbread pizzas under 500 calories. Additional choices are kid's meals, family-sized portions and sampler platters.

Founded in 1988, Fazoli's now numbers more than 217 restaurants and is expanding in selected markets around the United States. Sun Capital Partners acquired the company in 2006.