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Q&A: What’s going on with plans for that drive-thru pizza place?

California Quick Slice, Citrus Heights
An old gas station lot in Citrus Heights was approved to be re-made into a drive-thru pizza restaurant earlier this year. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
An entrepreneur’s plans to turn an old gas station near the corner of Antelope Road and Auburn Boulevard into a drive-thru pizza restaurant were approved by the Citrus Heights Planning Commission back in February, but since then the site has sat unchanged — apart from vandals smashing a hole through the front glass earlier this year.

So what’s going on?

Mercer Tyson, owner of the future California Quick Slice restaurant, told The Sentinel in an email update last month that the project is still in the works, but got stalled for several months due to personal and family circumstances that took precedence over his business plans. As of Friday, he said designs for the interior layout of the restaurant were being finalized, with building plans yet to be submitted to the city.

Although originally hoping to open by the end of this summer, Tyson is now shooting for an opening date in early 2019, with construction beginning at the site later this year.

The new California Quick Slice restaurant at 7766 Auburn Blvd. will feature several varieties of pizzas that will be pre-made daily and served up hot by the slice at the drive-thru, or picked up for take-and-bake at home. The restaurant will also offer coffee, shakes, a dessert pizza, and a bacon, egg and cheese pizza for breakfast, fitting with the initial proposed hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. — which Tyson has said could expand to 24 hours, depending on how late-night business performs.

“The main focus isn’t to compete with pizza restaurants, it’s to compete with hamburgers and tacos,” Tyson previously told planning commissioners during a public hearing. “So when you drive down the street, instead of getting a burger, you get a pizza and a coke.”

See what the new restaurant will look like: Click here

As previously reported by The Sentinel, plans approved by commissioners call for largely keeping the existing gas station layout, although drive-thru lanes would be added in the rear and outdoor seating would be set up under the canopy once used for gas pumps. Several commissioners referred to the plan as “exciting” and unique, while one commissioner voted against the project and expressed concern about excessive blacktop and the outdoor canopy attracting homeless during inclement weather.

Citrus Heights Associate Planner Alison Bermudez said the drive-thru would “really bring some vibrancy to the area,” noting the plan keeps the “look and feel” of a gas station, but features new lighting, paint, and landscaping. She said the owner will also install glass where the auto-service doors were previously, and the inside will feature artwork with a gas station theme.

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