After only five months in business, Zapapizza, which served Mexican-influenced deep-dish pizza, has closed. It served its last pie on Saturday, Feb. 8.
The Oregonian first reported on the announcement.
Owned by restauranteur Nick Zukin, who also owns Mi Mero Mole, the Old Town restaurant opened last September, loading its slices with toppings like taquitos, chilaquiles and chile relleno.
The endeavor was praised by local press—just last November, our reviewer wrote that "Zapapizza cooks up some of the best pizza this side of the river has seen in a long time."
Apparently, it wasn't enough to draw in the crowds needed to stay open.
"Chatting with people who work at nearby businesses," says Zukin, an occasional WW contributor, "they would tell us that whenever they would recommend us, people weren't really interested and they'd have a hard time convincing people to come in.
"Once people did, they really liked us and would report back that they were really surprised by how good it was, but the idea just didn't interest enough people."
According to his Facebook post announcing the closure, Zukin had been looking for a partner to revamp the restaurant, but "when business actually dropped after a positive review in the Oregonian [last month] and I had to put payroll on my personal credit card just to make sure everyone got paid, I knew it was over."
Zapapizza is still under lease for its space, and is looking for a sublessor. Zukin says that he'd open another restaurant of his own in the building, but a long, over-budget build out meant draining the cash reserves of both Zapapizza and Mi Mero Mole.
"Hopefully it means Mi Mero Mole can stay afloat," says Zukin. "I'm probably going to have to put some its next payroll on my credit card as well. Traditionally, Mi Mero Mole loses money in January and February, so it's really dangerous not having any cash reserves right now. We're going to have to penny pinch."
Mi Mero Mole will continue to serve Mexican street food every day of the week, and will add Zapapizza's wings to its menu.