Sparks, Nevada, September 18, 2007 – Straw Hat Pizza, originator of Genuine California Pizza in 1959, has opened its newest location in Sparks, Nevada in the new Sparks Crossing Shopping Center. 

The new restaurant is locally owned and operated by Larry and Lori Lancelle of Sparks, and it is Straw Hat Pizza’s first location to feature a full bar.  This is the Lancelle’s first restaurant, and, as long time fans of the Straw Hat brand, they hope to build several more in the vicinity in the future.  The Sparks location marks Straw Hat’s return to the Reno/Sparks market, after the company underwent a series of sweeping changes when Pizza Hut bought a majority of its locations in the late 80’s.  Straw Hat now operates over 40 family pizza restaurants in California and has another Nevada location in Carson City.

 “We’re excited to be open in Sparks,” says Larry Lancelle, “This area and Straw Hat are great places for families, and we’ve had a very enthusiastic welcome by everyone. We expect to be successful here by being the first choice for family dining, group functions, birthday celebrations, lunch, dinner, and home delivery.”  The restaurant features an upbeat and eclectic décor, a comfortable dining room and bar area, a kid’s clubhouse game room, and a bountiful salad bar.  Additionally, the new location offers take-out and delivery service, and will soon offer several video gaming machines.  Employees are uniformed in lively “California” style camp shirts and of course, the trademark straw hat.  “It’s all part of what makes Straw Hat so different from other pizza places,” says Lori Lancelle, “After all these years away from the area Straw Hat is still remembered for making awesome pizza, having a lot of fun, and providing a friendly dining experience; not to mention our famous Hot Hat sandwiches! We hope to live up to everyone’s expectations.” Straw Hat and the Lancelles have also received a lot of attention around town while driving their H2 Hummer wrapped in Straw Hat’s colorful California beach graphics featuring pizzas, surfboards, and huge sunglasses.

“We’re especially proud to be opening a beautiful new location in the Reno/Sparks market after such a long absence,” said Kevyn Johnston, Director of Marketing. “This location will be the first new Straw Hat built in the area since the company became a cooperative in 1987, and we are very excited that it is the first of our restaurants to include a full bar” said Johnston.   Straw Hat’s decision to reopen in the Sparks area with a full bar is part of the Company’s revitalization and growth plan.  Among other structural changes, the plan includes reopening in former robust markets and broadening the brand’s menu and beverage offerings to meet the expectations of today’s casual dining consumer.

[Straw Hat Cooperative Corp. licenses members to operate 45 Straw Hat Pizza locations in California and Nevada.  The “Cooperative” is unique in the restaurant industry, being a not-for-profit company, solely directed by its membership owners. It’s been called “the un-franchise, franchise” providing most of the same benefits to its owners as a franchise system, however, the Cooperative’s individual owners enjoy greater control, and corporate overhead is kept to a minimum, (about 1/3rd of the average franchise fee.)  Founded in 1959, the concept’s menu features genuine California crust gourmet pizzas, salad bars and “Hot Hat” TM sandwiches.  Locations have varied service formats including dine-in, take-out & delivery.  For membership information contact Kevyn Johnston at SHCC headquarters (925) 837-3400.]  

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