Home » Featured » Currently Reading:

Downtown’s Only Pizza By-The-Slice Place Has Closed, Adjacent Diner Never Opened

August 11, 2015 Featured 8 Comments

In June 2013 I was excited a diner was going to reopen at Tucker & Washington, by the same folks that opened Empire Pizza & Deli around the corner.

Public notices of hearings for liquor & cafe licenses
Public notices of hearings for liquor & cafe licenses, June 2013

The diner never opened, and now, the associated Empire Pizza & Deli in the same building has closed. Lately the hours were erratic. but then it closed.

Empire Pizza was in the space originally opened as Bridge & Tunnel Pizza.
Empire Pizza was in the space originally opened as Bridge & Tunnel Pizza.
A note on the door explaining why they're not open?
A note on the door explaining why they’re not open?
The July 16 judgment was for $8,909.33  Case: 1522-AC06229 - WASHINGTON AVENUE APARTMENTS V RRR AND R, LLC (E-CASE)
The July 16 judgment was for $8,909.33 Case: 1522-AC06229 – WASHINGTON AVENUE APARTMENTS V RRR AND R, LLC (E-CASE)

You’d think, given their restaurant backgrounds, they could’ve made it work:

Owners Mike and Dave Rook — the latter formerly executive chef at Copia — are the brothers of acclaimed Annie Gunn’s chef Lou Rook III, and all three men are the son of Lou Rook Jr., who founded King Louie’s Drive-In in Wood River, Illinois. Dave and Mike are working to open King Louie’s, a 24-hour diner and bar & grill concept, in the space adjacent to King Louie’s Empire Deli & Pizza. (2013: Riverfront Times)

The registered agent for RRR and R, LLC is Louis Earl Rook, Jr.

Someone please reopen a pizza by-the-slice shop downtown!

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    The restaurant business is a tough, competetive business. Pizza by the slice is low-cost, almost fast-food niche. With competition from everything from food trucks to Sauce on the Side and Pi Pizza, combined with location, location, location, it’s no big surprise that even experienced guys aren’t always successful.

    • Yes, the restaurant business is tough. However, most pizza by the slice places sell more than slices: beverages, salads, breadsticks, full pizzas, etc.

      Last week I contacted the owner of a local chain to persuade him to open in this location, we’ll see if anything comes of it.

      • JZ71 says:

        See if you can find out what the rent is/was on this spot – it’s hard to pay the rent (obviously) if you’re making less than $5 a transaction, UNLESS you can make it up on volume. Assuming $1,000 a month in rent (probably way low) and 5% overhead costs (just for rent), you’d need to gross $20,000 a month, $5,000 a week, $700 – $800 a day just to break even – that’s a lot of pizza, especially by the slice . . .

        • backprop says:

          I went to this spot occasionally and agree with you. Sometimes I want nothing more than a slice (not that it would have mattered otherwise; their soda fountain was perpetually broken). Total cost was $3-something. And when you got it for carryout, they put each slice in a full-fledged mini pizza box which had to eat into the measly few bucks.

          I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe a place to shoehorn a little sidewalk-facing window?

  2. Sean McElligott says:

    They should have moved to olive east of tucker close to the DT work force that is kind of a long walk on a lunch brake to get to wash and tucker. It would help if they had regular hours too.

  3. raccoozie says:

    That’s too bad. I enjoyed the pizza there. Perhaps a chance for Epic Pizza and Subs to open an additional location?

  4. Sgt Stadanko says:

    I thought B&T Pizza was fantastic. Empire Pizza i have only had twice and it was modest at best. They screwed up my pizza order twice in a row and I never went back. By the slice was probably the better way to go but ordered the whole pie. Must not have been that good since they were open late for the late night booze hounds and the 420 crowd getting “the munchies”. LOL So bottom line, it doesn’t surprise me they tanked. It wasn’t good pizza.

    great idea Raccoozie.. Epic would be great at that location.

    Thanks, Sarge

    • backprop says:

      I was the opposite – didn’t care much for B&T but really liked Empire. But as you pointed out, I only did by the slice.


Comment on this Article:



Where am I?

Bonus questions:
- name current & at least one prior occupant
- what’s behind me?
- what’s in a different part of this building, facing a different street?
... See MoreSee Less

4 days ago  ·