Cardo’S Pizza Sees Turnaround; Planning Expansion

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A year after a retired cop took over Cardo’s Pizza, the Italian restaurant has seen a 30-percent boost in sales with 13,000 additional customers.

Now owner Joe Trayer has plans to expand an outdoor patio with a $20,000 deck, which he hopes will bring in more people driving by on the highway.

A quasi “beer garden,” the 40x40 deck will feature brightly colored umbrellas, new seating and, most importantly, space to spread out.

The current smoking patio is small, and nonsmokers are often driven back inside by the crammed quarters, he said.

The renovations come on top of a spruced-up bar area inside, where a wall was opened up to connect the dining and bar area, but still keep the two spaces separate.

And in an economy where most businesses are cutting back due to lackluster sales, Trayer credits his staff and loyal customers with keeping the business afloat.

“I could not have surrounded myself with more people who want to see Cardo’s succeed,” he said.

Trayer said he wants to offer customers a comfortable place where they can get a good meal at a reasonable price.

“I want people to feel they can come a couple times a week,” he said. “I want this to be the fun place that still delivers good food.”

Trayer officially took Cardo’s over on Aug. 3, 2010.

A retired cop and business owner, Trayer said he moved to the Rim area to decompress in 2001.

Looking for a new project, an online search led him to Cardo’s.

The business was up for sale, so using his detective skills, Trayer visited several times to get a feel for the restaurant.

“I determined despite having had an absentee owner, the restaurant had conscientious employees,” he said. “And it is really important to have good people.”

The restaurant still has the same 16 staffers and Trayer has no plans to make any changes.

“When I walk around here now, I feel like a rock star, they make me look so good,” he said of his staff.

Trayer has worked with restaurant staff around the country. His family has owned and operated several restaurants from Denver to the Valley.

Trayer himself worked his way up from a “pearl diver” or dishwasher to a fry cook in high school and now owner.

Cardo’s is located at 203 E. Highway 260. For more information, call (928) 468-1626.

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