A new dining option is soon to be available to Portales residents with the doors to a national pizza restaurant opening early next week.
Little Caesars Pizza will be located in Sands Plaza, according to owner Roger Akers.
"We have a store in Clovis and a store in Roswell and we always go through Portales when we go back and forth between the stores so we've been looking at it for years," Akers said of adding a Portales branch, his sixth Little Caesars to be opened in New Mexico. "We started recently doing hot and ready pizzas for $5.99. It's easier to open in smaller towns with that concept."
Contractors could be seen paving the edge of the parking lot for the Sands shopping center this week in preparation for the opening of a new business. A Little Caesars Pizza will open in Portales no later than Tuesday, according to the owner.
Akers said the concept is that certain pizzas are already made and just have to be picked up. He said drive-through windows were also added onto the Roswell and Clovis branches for quicker service and will be included at the Portales restaurant.
Akers lived in New Mexico for close to 20 years, moving to Indiana to be closer to family.
"Throughout the years, like any other business, we've had our ups and downs and right now, things are going pretty well, so we have the capital to expand," Akers said. "We've heard good things about Portales and there's Eastern New Mexico University there. I've visited different businesses in town and people are very friendly."
Akers said he expects the restaurant to do well as the Roswell and Clovis ones have done.
"We're just hoping to be appealing to a majority of the town," he said. "We were supposed to open last week but we had some damaged equipment come in and we had to send it back then the weather delayed some shipments."
Akers said the health inspection is the only thing left to do with the restaurant before opening. He said if the inspection does not take place today, it will take place on Monday.
Akers said Tuesday will be the latest that the restaurant opens and it will employ 25 to 30 people to start.
He said most branches maintain about 20 employees long-term.
"We've been in New Mexico for years and years," Akers said. "We're happy to be in Portales."