Pizza Hut, which closed all the local restaurants owned by its New Orleans franchisee in January in a legal dispute, has since opened eight corporate-owned stores in the Baton Rouge area and will open two more by the end of the year.

Company spokesman Chris Fuller tells The Advocate at least one more will be built next year.

Pizza Hut shut down 44 restaurants in south Louisiana in January and sued Lundy Enterprises, claiming the company had not paid more than $75,000 owed for royalty and advertising fees. In February, Lundy filed a countersuit, claiming Pizza Hut broke franchise agreements and acted in bad faith. The suits have been combined and will be heard in a Dallas federal court in July.