Superheroes, Villains Collide with Pizza in Comic Book Café

Comic Book Cafe Franchise
The passionate entrepreneurs behind Comic Book Café explain their inspiration for the producers at Shark Tank.

Entrepreneurs Kevin Slachciak and Matt Cole Deliver Comic Relief with the Unique Themed Restaurant

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Kevin Slachciak has been collecting comic books since he was about 6 years old. He admittedly remained a kid at heart even into adulthood — after marriage, raising seven kids and running successful pizza restaurants and franchises. He even persuaded his wife to name their first child after Spiderman’s girlfriend, Gwen, “who, of course, met her untimely death at the hands of the Green Goblin,” he says. A self-proclaimed comic book nerd, Slachciak has a Jeopardy-worthy memory for superheroes and villains, but he’s also a savvy entrepreneur.

In 2008, Slachciak merged his passion for comics into his thriving pizza business in tiny Grand Island, NY, a Buffalo suburb. Sales doubled over the first year and have increased every year since, he says. Today, he’s offering Comic Book Café as a franchise opportunity. 

Comic Book Café franchise
Slachciak poses with the towering Hulk statue that greets customers at Comic Book Café.

With a life-sized Spiderman above the entrance, a towering Hulk figure greeting customers inside, numerous other superhero replicas throughout the restaurant, and comic books everywhere, Comic Book Café is “an immersive dining experience where you never have to grow up,” Slachciak says. The entire restaurant is one giant comic book store selling new, rare, vintage comic books, as well as t-shirts, statues, action figures, and more. Everything you see and touch is for sale!

Originally called “Say Cheese Pizza Co.,” the Comic Book Café is a superhero-themed pizza shop franchise. 

Beyond Superheroes

It’s not just the atmosphere that keeps people coming. “For us, the food quality is everything, and we pay more to have the very best ingredients,” he says. “We like to say, ‘They come for the superheroes. They come back for the food!’”

Comic Book Cafe Franchise
While pizza is the favorite at Comic Book Café, the restaurant also serves gourmet burgers, subs, and Buffalo wings.

Comic Book Café’s menu is extensive and innovative. While pizza remains the favorite, the restaurant also serves gourmet burgers, subs, appetizers, and several varieties of Buffalo wings, including spicy parmesan, Kentucky bourbon, and even the Artie wing, a crispy cajun-rubbed wing baked in butter, which is their best seller.

Then there’s the Pizzasaurus Rex: 4 pounds of food, including half a cheese and pepperoni pizza, a pound of ribeye steak with cheese, onions and peppers, and a pound of spicy French fries topped with garlic bread crust. Anyone who can eat the entire Pizzasaurus Rex in 45 minutes or less gets the meal for free and a T-shirt. Hundreds have attempted the challenge and only nine have succeeded. Fun Fact: Travel Channel’s hit show Man v. Food came to Grand Island to try it, but the host wasn’t sure he could take on the enormous Pizzasaurus Rex, so the segment was never filmed. 

Comic Book Café also includes a banquet area for private parties such as children’s birthdays. A full-service bar also makes the space ideal for corporate events and other adult gatherings.

‘The World Needs This Place’

Comic Book Cafe Franchise
Slachciak (left) with business partner Matt Cole.

Prior to opening Comic Book Café, Slachciak had experience managing and owning franchises. An admitted perfectionist, he probably would have continued tweaking the concept, “but it was my wife, Sara, and business partner, Matt Cole, who convinced me that the world needs this place now,” he says.

“The more our original neighborhood location grew, it was obvious from the never-ending positive feedback and the distances people would drive to experience the place that we had something unique and very special,” he says. “We knew it would be a massive task to franchise, but we eventually had to. Too many people were demanding it.”

Beyond the proven success of the concept, Slachciak says Comic Book Café has a strong financial track record, grossing $3 million last year with sales still trending upward. It also offers potential franchisees multiple revenue streams from the comic book store, game room, banquet room, catering, takeout, delivery, full bar and dining.

“Everything our patrons see and touch is for sale, and that’s powerful. Knowing they can take home a piece of nostalgia makes it really an interactive experience,” he says.

The Comic Book Café Franchise

Comic Book Cafe Franchise
More than 80 superhero characters were created for the Comic Book Café, each with its own imaginative backstory. From left to right: Rage, Eagle Eye and Blood Fury

Slachciak and his team have also created some 80 superhero characters for the exclusive use of franchisees in their creative marketing.

He points out that pizza is among consumers’ top three food items, “and our system is so unique that it allows us to stand out from the competition. A comic Book Café franchise is going to draw attention in any new city, and that’s exactly the edge a franchise needs to succeed.”

In the early stages, Slachciak says the ideal franchisee would have some experience and resources to help the brand grow. But getting in on the ground floor provides investors other opportunities.

“We’re a small, emerging brand, and the first few franchisees are going to be able to help us develop and polish the brand into a national one,” Slachciak says. “They’re going to have a level of influence and personal attention they would never get with a national or even larger regional brand.”

For franchise opportunities with the Comic Book Café, visit https://comicbookcafe.com, contact tclark@franchisedevelopmentgroup.com, text or call Tyler Clark at Franchise Development Group at 607-923-0051. 

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Lisa Ocker’s career began at her hometown paper, The Baytown Sun, covering everything from city government to chemical plant disasters, a hurricane and a controversial FEMA buyout of a flood-plagued neighborhood. From there, she moved to South Florida, reporting for the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspapers, and serving as editor of the regional magazine, Boca Raton. Returning to her home state, she led the re-launch of SUCCESS magazine as editor after a Texas-based entrepreneur bought the 100-year-old brand.

Lisa’s work also has appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsweek. She has covered major news events including the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the rape trial and acquittal of William Kennedy Smith, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Edward Kennedy. Her coverage of immigration issues included reporting on Haitian and Cuban refugee crises while traveling with the U.S. Coast Guard and from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Her work with SUCCESS included profiles of entrepreneurs Steve Case, Ted Turner and the late Tony Hsieh.

Now living in and working from Santa Fe, NM, Lisa enjoys sharing the challenges and successes of franchisees and franchisors as a contributor to FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine.
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