DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald
Locals and tourists pack Homeslice Pizza’s patio most Fridays in the middle of the summer, with the smell of melting cheese enticing passers-by to get their pizza fix.
The restaurant can have up to an hour waiting time on a typical Friday night, owner Cory Kitch said.
It’s easy to see why when looking at the diverse menu of out-of-the-box pizzas, such as “Grandma June’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger,” named after Kitch’s grandma, who came up with the recipe.
The business – celebrating its 10-year anniversary in August – is a family affair. Kitch’s brothers are chefs and helped him create the menu, and Grandma June isn’t the only family member to have a pizza named after her.
Kitch said his mom, Koko, always made great pizzas for him as a kid, so the Greek pizza is dubbed in her honor.
Homeslice is a hit now, but it got off to a rough start in summer 2002, when the Missionary Ridge Fire started. Kitch owned a house in Vallecito, which was one of the 56 homes the blaze consumed.
He and his wife, Lynn, have since relocated to just five blocks away from the restaurant.
The pizzeria has gone through some renovations since it first opened and its about to go through another.
While the pizza hot spot is jamming during the summer months, like most local businesses, it sees a drop in revenue during winter.
But unlike other businesses, Kitch said, Homeslice has a strong local following and attributes the dropoff in revenue to the lack of seating during the cold months.
“We have a really good local clientele, so I don’t think we feel it as much as some of the other businesses do,” Kitch said. “What is hurting us is the lack of seats.”
He hopes to change that by almost doubling his indoor seating.
Kitch submitted an application to the city proposing to construct a 304-square-foot addition to the existing building, which will essentially turn half of the existing patio into indoor seating during the winter months.
There will be a garage-style door to block the tables off from the elements in the winter, but it can also be opened in the summer to allow more outdoor seating.
Kitch originally intended to expand his indoor seating when he installed a new oven in 2009 that can produce 130 pizzas an hour, but he decided to postpone it.
The Design Review Board approved the proposal July 9, but Kitch’s plan has to be approved by the Land Use and Development Code Board of Appeals. The proposal goes before the board today.