Arizona-based Peter Piper Pizza will soon open its largest location, near Park Place mall.
The 20,000-square-foot pizza parlor is filling the space at 5925 E. Broadway previously occupied by Linens 'N Things. It will have room to sling hot pies for 800 people - or for eight to 10 birthday parties.
The pizza chain is shutting the doors at a 6,500-square-foot restaurant near East Broadway and Kolb Road, and opening the new location Sept. 14, said Matt Clauser, Peter Piper's vice president of marketing.
"We're going to be a destination for families," Clauser said. The site already has some reservations for birthday parties, he said.
The restaurant will have the usual dining room and arcade, along with a full-sized carousel and special play area for smaller youngsters.
It also has a dizzying Himalaya amusement ride, with several cars that zip riders up and down in a circle. It'll take riders forward and backward, Clauser said.
The restaurant, which is already fully staffed, will have about 50 employees.
Clauser and Peter Piper President John Baxla didn't seem worried about filling the massive space. Baxla said the location has high exposure because of its proximity to the popular mall across the street.
Peter Piper moved into the larger location despite an economy that has been tough on restaurants. Nationally, restaurant traffic has been down since January 2009, according to The NPD Group Inc., a market-research firm.
Visits to quick-serve restaurants that sell pizza were down 1 percent at the end of June compared with the previous year, the firm said. As the recession lingers, fewer parents have been visiting restaurants with their children, said Kim McLynn, an NPD Group spokeswoman, in an e-mail.
But Peter Piper has ideas to get people through the door. It will offer incentive awards to schools and youth programs, and provide space for large groups, like birthday parties and sports teams, the company said in a statement.
Peter Piper has 10 locations in Tucson.
On StarNet: On StarNet: Peter Piper is one of the largest 200 employers in Southern Arizona; browse the database at azstarnet.com/star200
Contact reporter Dale Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4197.