Arizona is a key player in the franchise plans for Colorado’s popular Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill.

Garbanzo plans to open 20 restaurants in Arizona, including three or four in Tucson, said franchisee Steve Morris.

“We’re really bullish on the brand and I love Arizona,” said Morris, who has been a fan of Garbanzo’s since the start and has worked in restaurant industry for years. “I have spent a lot of time in Arizona and I’m looking forward to developing it there.”

The five-year-old company has four restaurants in Colorado and two others in Oklahoma and Texas, with four more locations opening soon. Among states getting the fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant is California, Florida and the Washington, D.C., area.

Morris said he is starting conversations with landlords now and hopes to identify a location this spring. If his timetable holds true, he plans to have the first restaurant under construction this summer and open by early fall, he said.

Garbanzo is known for fresh fast fast-food Mediterranean sandwiches, plates and salads with pita bread baked on premises. Morris compared the restaurant’s setup to that of a Chipotle, where customers go down the line customizing their meal with vegetables, meats and sauces.

See more restaurant news in Thursday's Caliente.