By: Sarah Mitschke | Category: Restaurants | Issue: October 2007
George Lamb and Bruce Durden moved from Atlanta to Tulsa earlier this year to operate several Papa John’s Pizza locations.
Customers who have recently stopped by Papa John’s Pizza in Sand Springs or Sapulpa may have noticed some new and friendly faces. Long-time friends Bruce Durden and George Lamb relocated from Atlanta in March to further pursue their passion: delicious, fresh pizza. The two are enjoying their first taste of Oklahoma as operating partners.
Born and raised in Florida, Durden and Lamb have made pizza a big part of their lives. Durden, a husband and the father of a two-year-old son and two college graduates who live in Florida, has been in the pizza industry since the 1980’s. Through their work with several other pizza companies in Florida, the paths of the two men crossed in the early 90’s. The two men instantly became friends, and, ironically, Durden’s father-in-law happened to be a delivery driver for Lamb.
Several years into their friendship, their busy lives caused Durden and Lamb to lose touch. After moving to Atlanta in 2003 to pursue a new job in the corporate side of Papa John’s Pizza, Durden made a shocking discovery. Surprisingly, Lamb had also relocated to Atlanta. While working with Papa John’s under Jeff Hux, CEO, and Alex Hanna, shareholder, the two reconnected and have been working partners since.
“Earlier this year, we were given a big opportunity to move and manage several Papa John’s stores,” Durden says. With a list of cities to choose from, Durden and Lamb decided to move to Tulsa. “We liked the people, the climate and the geography of Tulsa,” Durden says. “Everyone who has lived in or visited Tulsa says it’s a great place to raise families.”
In addition to owning their Papa John’s locations in Sand Springs and Sapulpa, Durden and Lamb are currently working on a project to acquire another store. Keep an eye out for Durden and Lamb around Claremore, as the two may own a Papa John’s franchise there very soon. Projects are also underway at the operating partners’ two current locations. They hope to implement bigger dining rooms and revamp their menu to include a variety of sandwiches and salads.
Since its establishment in 1985, Papa John’s Pizza has taken pride in using only the freshest ingredients. The company keeps the menu simple yet delicious. “Our ingredients are not frozen or vacuum-packed like those used by other pizza franchises,” Lamb mentions. “We don’t use the tiny, frozen, precut vegetable pieces. We use whole vegetables purchased from local markets and slice them daily.” Papa John’s also uses vine-ripened tomatoes for its sauce, which go from the vine to the can in an average of six hours. Grown in the rich soil of Spain, the company’s olives are among the best in the world.
With such pizzas as Hawaiian barbecue chicken, spinach alfredo, grilled chicken club and spicy Italian, just to name a few, Papa John’s aims to please. Customers can also enjoy buffalo or chipotle barbecue wings, chicken strips, cheesesticks, as well as regular or parmesan breadsticks. Meals can be completed with Papa’s Cinna Swirl or Apple Twist Sweetreats.
For more information or to order a pizza, call the Papa John’s Sand Springs location at (918) 245-7878 or the Sapulpa location at (918) 227-3232. For customer ease and convenience, pizza can also be ordered online at www.papajohns.com. Of course, pizza lovers are always welcome to order and eat their food in the shop. “Stop by to meet us, and we’ll throw in a free order of cheesesticks with your pizza,” Durden says. “And if you see us around town in the Papa John’s vehicle, give us a honk and a wave!”
305 W. Taft St.Sapulpa, OK 74066