CARLSBAD, Calif. – It has been an emotional last few days for Jenny Smart and her family’s longtime restaurant, That Pizza Place.
Smart’s father built the restaurant in 1978 and she’s been running it for the past 20 years, developing a devoted customer base that spans generations. But after more than 40 years, this slice of Carlsbad history is closing for good.
Smart said That Pizza Place hasn’t been able to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown.
“We knew from the beginning it was going to be hard,” she said. “We tried and we fought.”
The closure was announced this week and a handful of longtime customers are devastated.
“It’s just a great sadness because we’ve been coming here since 1981,” said Carlsbad resident Sandra Palmer.
At the end of last month, the restaurant reopened for dine-in customers, but Smart said they just couldn’t bounce back — particularly with reliable revenue streams such as youth sports teams and pizza parties still not happening due to the pandemic.
The numerous team photos lining the walls show how big that’s been for the business over time.
“Some of them were our first customers when we first opened over 40 years ago,” Smart said.
There’s little doubt about what this place has meant to the community.
“They’ve provided lots of meals for kids – not just for the teams, but also at schools,” Palmer said. “They’ve been a fabulous institution.”