After 13 years of serving pizza to students near Guadalupe Street, Salvation Pizza closed its original location last week.
Restaurant owner Michael Dinsmore said the location near the intersection of West 34th and Guadalupe streets closed because customer demand lowered in the area.
“Serving UT has been our main goal from the beginning,” Dinsmore said. “Lately, we’ve seen numbers go down at our original location compared to our other ones, so when we realized we needed to downsize, the West 34th (location) was the one that had to go.”
Dinsmore said he opened the original Salvation Pizza location in 2006 to bring a different, “New Haven style,” of pizza to the area with crispier crust than Austinites are familiar with.
Dinsmore said the restaurant now has two locations on Rock Rose Avenue and Rainey Street. He said continuing to create New Haven-style pizza in the restaurant’s two other locations made the closure of the original location less difficult.
“Nobody ever wants to say, ‘I think we’ve got to let this one go,’” Dinsmore said. “I still wish there was a way to keep this one open, but having two more out there still is something we’re all proud of.”
Dinsmore said the atmosphere of the Salvation Pizza chain was intended to “recreate the feeling of coming together and sharing a homemade meal.” Antonella Del Fattore-Olson, a senior lecturer in the department of Italian studies, said the shared meal is central to Italian culture.
“A typical meal in Italy can last hours, eating at home or eating out,” Del Fattore-Olson said. “It is a time for people to gather together, set aside the troubles of the week and reconnect.”
Del Fattore-Olson said restaurants such as Salvation Pizza show an effort to capture Italian spirit while adapting to a format expected by an American audience.
“The American food culture today expects things to be very quick,” Del Fattore-Olson said. “Obviously, selling a full (dinner meal) is hard when not everyone wants all the courses, but sharing the feeling of the family meal keeps the thought of it alive.”
Physics and astronomy senior Julia Orenstein said she has tried different types of pizza across Austin and enjoyed the pizza served at Salvation Pizza.
“I like the way the crust is crispier than other pizzas I’ve had,” Orenstein said. “I don’t like having to fight my food while I’m eating it, so I like the snappier crust.”
Orenstein said she felt having other pizza places close to campus, such as Roppolo’s and Pizza Press, provides students with plenty of pizza options.
“It’s not going to be convenient to go there anymore for students,” Orenstein said. “I mean, it’s kind of sad that this one pizza place isn’t going to be there anymore, but there are still plenty of really close options for students.”
Dinsmore said he chooses to be thankful for what Salvation Pizza still has in Austin instead of dwelling on the closure of one location.
“We’re just gone from one place,” Dinsmore said. “We’re not gone forever. One closing isn’t going to stop us from doing what we do, which is make good pizza.”