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Popular Citrus Heights pizza shop abruptly closes

Alonzo's Pizza
Alonzo’s Pizza Depot abruptly closed in February with the owner citing a rent increase coupled with a disagreement over rent forgiveness during COVID as reasons for the move. // M. Hazlip

Updated 2:06 p.m., Feb. 24th–
By Mike Hazlip— After several weeks of closure without notice, signage for Alonzo’s Pizza Depot on Sunrise Boulevard has now been removed, causing questions from loyal customers about what happened.

In an email to The Sentinel Tuesday, business owner Arsen Stepanyan confirmed the restaurant has closed, citing a “disagreement with the landlord and his policy.” He said a rent increase coupled with a disagreement over rent forgiveness during COVID led to the closure.

“I did not have any intention to close the location,” he said. “Was very passionate to continue work, and serve the community.”

Dan Chiavario with Strategic Asset Management Group, which manages Copperwood Square where the pizza shop was located, told The Sentinel in an email Tuesday he could not comment on financial or lease details for any tenants.

“I would like to say that both ownership and management treat all of our business partners, tenants, vendors and customers with the upmost respect; legally abide by all contracts and laws; and are proud to have successfully worked with many small businesses face and prosper through the challenging times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chiavario said.

Employees at neighboring businesses confirmed the restaurant closed without warning earlier this month. The interior tables and chairs were still in place, but no employees were at the location during a visit by Sentinel staff during business hours Monday.

A neighboring business, Kelsee’s Purse, also closed at the same shopping center last month with the owner citing increased rent and maintenance issues. However, the business re-opened this month in the same location with the owner, Ildiko Carpenter, telling The Sentinel she was able to come to an agreement with the landlord. Neither Carpenter nor Strategic Asset Management Group could comment on the details of the agreement.

Stepanyan told The Sentinel in a followup phone call Thursday he has not ruled out reopening in another location, preferably one where he can have an owner investment to avoid what he called an “unpleasant situation.”

As the third owner of Alonzo’s Pizza Depot, Stepanyan said he values the relationships the decades-old business had with customers. More than 200 reviewers on Yelp had given the eatery an average rating of four out of five stars.

A statement on the company’s Yelp page says the restaurant was originally started in 1970 in Albuquerque, New Mexico by Charles (Lonnie) and Jan Robinson, who later moved it to Citrus Heights in 1980.

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