Campus Pizza moves — but not far

Bartender Greg Rousseau (right) and General Manager Jim Rosvold at the now-fully stocked bar at Campus Pizza’s new location.

Photo by Jeremy Stratton

New location offers expanded bar, seating, hours and menu items

Less than two months after moving across the street from their home of 50 years, Campus Pizza and Pasta’s General Manager Jim Rosvold said customers have warmed up quickly to its new location — although they have been asking about the stained-glass gopher that graced the old spot, and which has yet to make the move from 818 to 825 Washington Ave. SE.

Campus Pizza’s move makes way for the Campus Crossroads development that will eventually take over their original home — where, Rosvold said, they’d kept the same oven, pizza recipe and decor for much of the restaurant’s existence.

The move into the remodeled space — formerly Subway, Pita Pit and On the Go PC — Campus Pizza has expanded from 70 to 104 seats and added a full bar. The old location served only beer and wine, Rosvold said, but with the campus stadium on the way, he thought they should offer a bigger alcohol selection. Along with mixed drinks, they’ve expanded their bottled beer and wine offerings and added Summit, Guinness and other beers to their previous taps, which had been limited to Budweiser products. (As a convenient counterpart to added beverages, the new space has two bathrooms instead of one.)

They’ve also added hours. Instead of closing at 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends, they’re now open until 1 a.m. every night. And since it’s considered a restaurant rather than a bar, Campus Pizza can accommodate night owls of any age in their dining area, while other establishments have to restrict entry to those over 21 after a certain time.

Rosvold said the staff increased by about 50 percent after the move — like the addition of Greg Rousseau, an experienced bartender — and there’s still a “help wanted” sign posted in the window.

Despite the economic downturn, business has been up. “I think pizza is the ultimate comfort food,” said Rosvold. With the new and larger kitchen, he added hamburgers to the menu and plans to add more fried food when they fire up their new fryer in the near future.

When the move was first announced, a lot of customers said they couldn’t imagine Campus Pizza in a new place, Rosvold said, but he’s been seeing “all the old faces,” along with quite a few new ones. The clientele includes those who work and live around campus, current students and visiting alumni.

One 92-year-old regular who’s frequented the restaurant for at least 30 years (since well before Rosvold’s 19-year tenure at the restaurant) loves the new location, Rosvold said.

Maybe that’s because, despite all that’s new with the relocated, remade Campus Pizza, Rosvold said they made sure that “the pizza stayed the same.”

Campus Pizza & Pasta
825 Washington Ave. SE

last revised: April 21, 2009