Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Pizza Wars Continue

Last night it was wet and drippy. I had just dropped off my daughter at a party in Frederick. My husband was at Camden Yards to see the Orioles. I had no company for dinner and no plans. Honestly, I didn’t even want to get out of my car to get anything.

Sometimes the possibilities are endless and yet you somehow find yourself in the drive-through of Little Caesar’s craving Cheesy Bread.

That was when I discovered that the Oakland Mills Little Caesar’s is no more. They have moved to Long Reach. Well, good for Long Reach, I thought, as I drove home and then eventually ordered a Veggielicious pizza from Pizza Boli’s.

You may remember that it wasn’t even a year ago that I wrote about the increase in pizza establishments in the Oakland Mills Village Center.

A Slice of Small Business , November 27, 2021

Long time tenants Vennari’s had been replaced by a new pizza place called NYC Pizza. Vennari’s is now in the Owen Brown Village Center. So Cedar Properties had replaced a struggling pizza place with another pizza place, in a village center that already had Little Caesar’s and Pizza Man. 

Is this survival of the fittest?

Maybe they think that’s all we eat.

We really liked NYC Pizza and added them into our regular take out rotation. 

I should take this opportunity to confess that I am the only person in Oakland Mills who isn’t crazy about Vennari’s pizza. I realize it is a personal failing on my part but it can’t be helped. Outspoken Vennari’s loyalty is an Oakland Mills litmus test of sorts. Ah, well. There’s no accounting for taste.

Back to NYC Pizza. We liked them. They closed. I don’t know exactly when, probably within the last two months or so. And I don’t know why, although I can think of several plausible reasons. Among them is the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can’t support three pizza places in one Village Center, with Philly’s Best across Route 175 in Thunder Hill and local favorite Vennari’s just a few minutes away in Owen Brown.

And now Little Caesar’s has gone to Long Reach. We didn’t go there all that often but think it will be a loss to some of our neighbors who have very limited resources and for whom a Little Caesar’s pizza was hot, filling, and affordable.

As an aside: we love Pizza Man and order from them regularly. I just don’t like their pizza. It’s on the sweet side as I recall. There are plenty of other tasty things on their menu. The owner has done a great deal to engage with the community and host school fundraising events. I’m glad it’s still going strong and we will continue to support it. 

There may already be plans in the works to replace NYC Pizza and Little Caesar’s. The properties have two separate owners and seems unlikely that they will coordinate their searches for the good of the Village. This is business and it all comes down to who can pay the rent.

I already know the answer to this question, but, would it be too much to ask for Cedar Properties to refrain from putting another pizza place in the now-defunct NYC slot? 

It is time to move beyond the great Oakland Mills Pizza Wars. 

Any ideas? You know where to send them.

UPDATE: Have just learned that Cedar is in the process of selling all its retail properties. That includes the Oakland Mills Village Center. It will be interesting to see how that affects what happens next.

UPDATE #2: A helpful reader has informed me that they were told on Wednesday by a long-time employee that they were leaving because of a leasing issue, not poor sales. Employee said they have been as busy if not busier than ever.

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