Krazy Karl’s Pizza aims to expand with added popularity of Bierhaus

Chad Deutschman

Pizza and beer, a combo so good it must be made in heaven —or at least Krazy Karl’s Pizza thinks so.

Krazy Karl’s has been open since March 2010, and has quickly risen up the Fort Collins pizza ladder, earning Best of CSU in 2014 through a survey of students by College Avenue. The Bierhaus at Krazy Karl’s was added in February 2014, and consists of 16 beers on tap, adding a new element to the atmosphere. 

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“The Bierhaus is awesome,” said Thomas Casias, a senior health and human sciences major. “It makes Karl’s appeal to the older students even more.”

While Krazy Karl’s only has one location in Northern Colorado currently, an expansion may be in the future.

“We would love to expand,” said General Manager Dustin Hayes. “We’ve looked at a spot in Greeley, and on the southeast side of town. It’s just a matter of time. It’s definitely in our future.”

Karl Mobley, the original owner of Krazy Karl’s who recently passed away, opened up a few other pizza joints prior to the Fort Collins Krazy Karl’s. He took a Detroit, Michigan, style of pizza and brought it to Fort Collins.

Krazy Karl's employee James Gilbert spreads sauce over several pizza crusts. Gilbet said he likes the work environment in the pizza shop because the people are fun to work with and the work environment is laid back but he has enough work to keep him busy. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
Krazy Karl’s employee James Gilbert spreads sauce over several pizza crusts. Gilbet said he likes the work environment in the pizza shop because the people are fun to work with and the work environment is laid back but he has enough work to keep him busy. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

“Karl had worked in a couple pizza places prior, and opened up a couple other ones,” Hayes said. “So, he had experience in other restaurants previously. He also owned a bunch of night clubs and bars and he just put it all together and got Krazy Karl’s.”

To get Krazy Karl’s up-and-running, money was invested by fellow owners and relatives. The investment proved to be worth it, as Krazy Karl’s showed profits in its first year of operation.

“(Krazy Karl’s) started to really, really take off in that second year,” Hayes said. “We all had the feeling that it was gonna be a big deal.”

The only setback Crazy Karl’s had in its beginning was getting its name out there to the Fort Collins and Colorado State University community, according to Hayes.

“Its kind of hard to find the place, I mean we didn’t have a sign ’til a month ago,” Hayes said. “We are kind of hidden away from Elizabeth, and just getting the name out there was pretty tough in the beginning.”

To help get the name out, Krazy Karl’s gave out unique coupons. In their early years, Krazy Karl’s stormed the CSU campus and threw Frisbees containing a coupon for free pizza. Today, additional deals can be found at krazykarlspizza.com or on their Facebook page.

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While it may have been a challenge to promote the Krazy Karl’s brand at first, a Google search of “Fort Collins pizza” reveals Krazy Karls as one of the top results.

Pizza parlors are scattered throughout Fort Collins — Cosmos Pizza, D.P. Dough, Mama Roni’s Pizza, Panhandler’s Pizza, Pizza Casbah — the list goes on and on. Despite all of the competition, Krazy Karl’s is not overly concerned, according to Hayes.

“To be honest, we don’t really focus too much on what the competition is doing,” Hayes said. “We just try and think about what we’re doing and make sure that we are giving good service and making good food.”

For some, the reason they choose Krazy Karl’s over the competition may be the wide variety of toppings available.

“Krazy Karl’s has some wild pizzas,” said Ethan Hufnagel, a senior studying business. “But, even if you don’t go pizza, the jalepeño poppers or grinders are good alternates.” 

From the popular cream cheese topping to the ranch-based sauce to the Thai-style sauce, adventurous choices are abundant.

While the small company currently has around 75 employees who are mostly students, Krazy Karl’s is always hiring.

“At this point, we haven’t stopped hiring,” Hayes said. “We are open late (3 a.m.), so we need a lot of employees. And, our turnaround isn’t bad since most employees are students who will graduate. We just continue to hire and hire. One philosophy we have, is that if you interview somebody or meet somebody and think they’ll be a good fit, but we don’t have spot, make a spot. We will hire that person.”

Krazy Karl’s is looking to remain atop the Fort Collins pizza ranks in 2015. Check them out just west of the CSU campus at 1124 W. Elizabeth St.  

Collegian Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @ChadDeutschman.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article misspelled Karl Mobley’s name. The Collegian regrets this error.