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Owners plan to begin franchising Serial Grillers restaurants outside of Tucson

Owners plan to begin franchising Serial Grillers restaurants outside of Tucson

The brothers behind the Serial Grillers restaurant got the keys to their new Marana location, but it will be months before they will be firing up the ovens and selling their popular pizzas and burgers.

When they do open, Travis and William Miller will be road-testing what they hope will become Arizona’s newest franchise restaurant chain.

The Marana restaurant will have a more streamlined menu that features only two pizza sizes instead of the four you can get at the three other Tucson Serial Griller locations. The Marana location also will knock the Italian-inspired Red John burger with mozzarella cheese and marinara off the menu.

The new restaurant also will be outfitted with a 6-foot griddle — twice the size as the other locations — to shrink the time between ordering and getting food.

It’s all part of the Miller brothers’ plan to begin franchising Serial Grillers outside Tucson, where the brothers got their start in 2012 as a food truck.

In addition to the three Serial Grillers, the Millers also have a taproom — Craft, A Modern Drinkery — on East Speedway near North Swan Road.

The Marana restaurant will be the last of three restaurant openings for the company through mid-January, said Travis Miller.

First up in mid-November is moving the flagship Serial Grillers from 5737 E. Speedway to 5975 E. Speedway, in the space that for 51 years was home to Lotus Garden Chinese restaurant.

Miller said they received the keys to the Lotus building on Sept. 13 and have begun renovation work that will include upgrading electrical and plumbing to meet city and county codes.

The original Serial Grillers spot at 5737 will become Boulevard Barbecue, a collaboration between Serial Grillers and Red Desert BBQ & Catering. That restaurant is expected to open Jan. 1.

Serial Grillers on Cortaro Road is expected to open Jan. 15, Miller said.

And that could be the final installment of Serial Grillers — in Tucson, at least.

Miller said he and his brother have no plans beyond the next three restaurants, which is why they’re working with a consulting firm to explore franchise opportunities.

“I don’t know what interest is out there; we could have none,” Miller said. “But in my eyes, from where we started and where we’re going, it’s a success story for me.”

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch.

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.

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