After 10 years, Grimaldi's Pizzeria will be bidding adieu to Tucsonans – for now.
Come November 25, the iconic pizza restaurant will shutter its doors at 446 N. Campbell Ave. #100. People craving a white pizza or slice of the restaurant’s delectable cheesecake will need to drive to the next closest location, which is in Chandler, or to one of the other five Phoenix-area Grimaldi’s.
Compared to other businesses, this is a different kind of closing. First, it was announced early, thus giving its employees and customers over six weeks to plan accordingly. Unlike some restaurant closings, there will be no stealthy move-out in the middle of the night.
Second, Grimaldi's Pizzeria isn’t closing because of a failing business model. Tucson’s location was profitable, but general manager Jeff Spear said that the restaurant wasn’t able to renegotiate its lease with the building’s new owners, who purchased the building in July at auction.
Spear said that all the 32 Tucson employees were offered positions at one of the franchise’s Phoenix-area locations. They have until November 1 to accept.
The franchise currently spans over 50 restaurants in 14 states. Spear said another Grimaldi’s is planned for 2019 in Tucson, but the location isn’t known.
For the past five years, Tucson’s location raised the most money of any Grimaldi’s for No Kids Hungry. To date, the chain has raised over $92,000, with each dollar equaling 10 meals.
Though the 80-seat restaurant is a neighbor to the University of Arizona, Grimaldi’s tended to attract more faculty and staff from the university rather than students. That’s possibly because the restaurant doesn’t sell pizza by the slice, making its price point a bit higher than a typical college pizza joint.
Specials are in place, however. Until the restaurant closes, there will be a manager’s special on Mondays through October, where 16-inch cheese pizzas cost $10, and half-price wines by the bottle and glass will continue on Tuesdays. Traditionally, Grimaldi’s offers the Tuesday deal from the end of May through September, but management has decided to continue the deal indefinitely company-wide.
After 11 years as a Grimaldi’s general manager, Spear is going to miss the non-food aspects the most.
“I’m going to miss the people that come in, and the day-to-day interactions with people,” he said. “And the staff. For a restaurant, I have a lot of tenured employees. I’ve had about 10 employees here for four or five years.”
Grimaldi's Pizzeria is located at 446 N. Campbell Ave. #100. For more information, call (520) 882-6100 or visit grimaldispizzeria.com.
[Editor's note 10/09/2017: last day updated to November 25, $10 special clarified to be only through October.]