The Coast News Group

Carlsbad pizza shop, a favorite of local sports teams, closes down

CARLSBAD — The lines were long and their memories even longer.

Thousands of customers plowed through the doors of That Pizza Place last weekend to say goodbye after the owner announced it would be closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For 43 years, the pizzeria has been a Carlsbad staple, where families and athletic teams would gather to celebrate milestones, wins and more. But like many small, family-owned businesses, That Pizza Place fell victim to the brutal economic fallout of the pandemic.

Its final day of business was June 28.

“We knew from the beginning it was going to be hard,” Jenny Smart, whose father opened That Pizza Place, told Fox 5 San Diego. “We tried and we fought.”

Messages left with ownership were not returned prior to deadline.

The business has been in the family for decades as it opened in 1978 and resided off El Camino Real and Hosp Way.

The aesthetic was something from yesteryear, with road signs and vintage farm equipment hanging from the walls and ceiling. Not to mention the trophies. Wall shelves packed with trophies from the youth sports team and adult softball teams That Pizza Place happily sponsored over the years.

Smart told the iconic spot couldn’t recover from shutting down due to the pandemic. At the end of May, the restaurant reopened for dine-in customers, but Smart said the traffic and orders weren’t there, noting the loss of reliable sources such as youth teams and parties.

Keith and Crystal Silvas and their two kids were just several of the more than 100 people waiting in line on June 25. The line snaked around the strip mall to the front doors of Sprouts grocery store.

The couple lives within walking distance and were heartbroken when they saw the news through the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“We were pretty bummed about it because we’ve been coming here to celebrate different things,” Crystal Silvas said. “We were like we got to go one last time before it closes.”

Keith Silvas echoed his wife’s comments and the two said That Pizza Place was older than they were. He said the restaurant helped with school fundraisers, noting how That Pizza Place did a lot to give back to the community.

“It’s sad to see,” he said. “A lot of people in the community are going to miss it.”

Chloe Silvas, Keith and Crystal Silvas’ daughter, said she will miss the pizza and the claw game, where an individual attempts to pluck a prize with a mechanical arm.