Pizza Rustica in the South Campus Gateway closed last week, becoming the latest departure from the university-partnered retail district that has struggled with stability in recent years.
A sign posted on the restaurant’s door Sunday read: “We are now Closed! We would like to thank everyone for many years of business here at the Gateway.”
Joe Horan, a fourth-year in mathematics, had hosted stand-up comedy fundraisers at Pizza Rustica along with members of student comedy organization 8th Floor Improv. He said in an email Friday that the sudden closing of Pizza Rustica was confusing.
“When we showed up for the show last (Thursday) night, the owner (Chris diDonato) was there with a work crew gutting the entire restaurant. We had to cancel last night’s show, and are currently looking for venues to finish the remaining six shows of the year,” he said. “We were not told by Chris ahead of time that they would be closing, and I got the vibe from him last night it was a very sudden choice for them. I had texted the manager earlier this week with no response.”
Since 2013, the Gateway has seen the closings of several restaurants, including Kildare’s Irish Pub, Gooeyz and Charlie Bear: Land of Dance. Finish Line and the Ohio Art League also left the area in 2014.
After the closure of Gooeyz last year, former co-founder Lanne Bennett told The Lantern that the building that housed Gooeyz was poorly maintained and poor foot traffic in the Gateway made it a hard location to operate.
Bennett and Charlie Bear owner Ted Lawson had also criticized Campus Partners, an off-campus business arm of Ohio State, for being a difficult landlord.
Campus Partners president Amanda Hoffsis and diDonato had not returned requests for comment on Pizza Rustica’s leave as of Sunday night, but the sign affixed to the closed pizzeria’s storefront said that catering and delivery are still available from Pizza Rustica’s downtown location.