National chain Marco's Pizza is expanding into East Ridge and will pick one lucky customer at its grand opening this Sunday to win free pizza for a year.
Marco's Pizza, whose local franchise is owned and operated by brothers Suhash and Jay Patel, will be the second new restaurant in the East Ridge area, near exit 1, to open this week and offer customers free food for a year. Chick-fil-A is giving away free meals for a year to up to 100 customers who participate in that restaurant's grand opening Thursday.
Called "the fastest growing pizza company" in the country, Marco's, at 6016 Ringgold Road, will host its grand opening this Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., offering carnival-style games, a DJ, bounce house, face painting and free pizza at the family-friendly event.
The new East Ridge location is the second one in the area to be operated by the Patel brothers. There are six restaurants, including the new one in East Ridge, across the 18 counties that make up the Chattanooga market for the company, which stretches north to Athens, Tenn., and south to Dalton, Ga.
The Patel brothers began operating Marco's franchises in the area five years ago. Suhash Patel said they were drawn in by the restaurant's use of "fresh" and "authentic" ingredients. Marco's boasts that it uses a "special sauce" and the dough is made in-house daily. The brothers also own and operate hotel and convenience stores in Tennessee.
"One of the things we noticed quickly about Marcos was the quality of the food," Patel said. "When you've got good food and you've got good service, then you've got a successful business."
The menu also will feature "classic artisan pizzas," such as the "White Cheezy," "Deluxe" and "Chicken Fresco" along with salads, several kinds of subs and other creations, such as the "Meatball Bake," "Chicken Dippers" and popular "CheezyBread."
"The average family of four would probably pay $16 for a large pizza and a side of CheezyBread," Patel said.
Like the brother's Hixson location, the Marco's in East Ridge will have a drive-thru window, so customers can pick up their pizzas without having to leave their car. Marco's will also offer carryout, delivery and dine-in or online ordering services. Patel said the restaurant can seat 16 people.
The new Marco's will employ 27 workers, including 12 full-time employees, Patel said. Marco's will be open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Contact staff writer Allison Shirk at email@example.com, @Allison_Shirk or 423-757-6651.