Lorenzo Puertas, owner of Croll’s Pizza, quickly followed-up with a press release for the media, writing, “after generations of serving Alamedans, Croll’s has lost its lease. We have been desperately searching for a solution, but no luck. It’s time to say goodbye. We are closing.”
According to the release, Puertas has “not been asked for a rent increase, we are simply being kicked out at the end of our current lease term in a few weeks,” and his customers have been telling him that his neighbors at 1400 Bar and Grill plan to expand that restaurant into the pizza-parlor.
By e-mail, Don Lindsey, of Gallagher & Lindsey, told Action Alameda News, “There have been some mean spirited comments on social media regarding Croll’s Pizza being evicted by Gallagher and Lindsey. Just to set the record straight here are the facts.
“Croll’s Pizza owners have known for at least a year that their lease would not be renewed. The owners of the Croll’s building are planning to join the pizza space into the 1400 Bar and Grill space making the bar and grill the way it was when the Croll Family owned the building. Historically, it will be correct. The pizza restaurant has not had use of the back patio for quite a while knowing that their space would become part of 1400. The owners of Croll’s Pizza have looked at other spaces throughout this last year off and on.
“I feel they are now using G & L as a scapegoat for the rent control agenda, and not telling it like it is. This is not a 30 day or 60 day eviction. Rent increase is not the reason for the notice. It is planned to keep the rent [for the pizza space] for the 1400 Bar and Grill the same.”
Puertas told Action Alameda News that when 1400 Bar and Grill originally moved into the building, the owners had planned to use the name “Croll’s,” for which Puertas holds intellectual property rights, having purchased the business and trademark from the family in 2007.
He said he offered to collaborate with Mike Cooper and Yanni Placourakis of 1400 on a solution that would enable both restaurants to benefit from the Croll’s name recognition – more people coming to the Croll’s building means more customers for both – while still respecting Puertas’ rights to the name.
Don and Suzanne Lindsey got involved, Peurtas said, pressuring him to yield on the name. Ultimately, Cooper and Placourakis stopped talking, and named their restaurant after the street address.
had not responded to questions about the name dispute by press time declined to comment on the name issue and representatives from 1400 Bar and Grill had not responded to Facebook and e-mail inquiries.
Puertas considers his family pizza business a caretaker of an Alameda name that extends back 132 years to when John Croll started his business on the same corner. In Puertas’ mind, there is no controversy over who holds the rights to the Croll’s name.
As for re-opening at a new location, Puertas told Action Alameda News, “We’ll see. Right now there’s really nothing in Alameda that isn’t way too big or that doesn’t require a massive build-out of a kitchen ($200,000+) which just doesn’t make sense for our small family business. We’re doing great, but don’t need to get into a big debt like that. Hard to pay it off with a $3/slice neighborhood pizza place. So for now, we really have to say ‘Closing for good.'”