Many students returning to campus this fall were surprised to find the premises of late-night food staple Collegetown Pizza, formerly at the corner of College and Dryden Avenues, vacant.
After 10 years, the pizzeria is moving to a new home on Dryden Avenue, occupying the former location of Italian eatery Mama T’s. The new location will open sometime between Sept. 20 and Sept. 25, according to CTP owner Khalid Attia.
Attia said he decided to move store locations after his lease expired in March and he was not able to reach an agreement on the rental rate with the building’s owner, George Avramis.
“I thought a new lease would be very expensive,” Attia said. “[The location on Dryden Ave.] will be new, and it’s going to be cheaper.”
Attia hopes that the new location, which has approximately twice as much floor space as CTP’s former location, will attract more people to the eatery.
“The space is more manageable,” he said. “We can set it up the way we want it to be … There is more space to move around and to serve more people efficiently.”
Kristen MacFarlane ’13, who lives in Collegetown, agreed that the new, expanded space could draw her to CTP instead of other late-night food stops.
“I would go there more often than I did when it was at its previous location. It used to be so ridiculously crowded when you went there late at night,” MacFarlane said. “They definitely needed to get a bigger place.”
Annelise MacLeod ’13 said CTP’s move will prove beneficial because it will decrease the number of people congregating at the intersection of College and Dryden Avenues late at night.
“I prefer the new location because ... it won't clog up that intersection,” she said.
Attia also hopes that CTP’s new upgrades –– including a wood oven, gluten-free pizza and a “whole new surprising part of the menu” — will attract both hungry students and new clientele.
“[Dryden Ave. is] going to attract more people for lunch and dinner, especially people visiting town and construction workers,” Attia said.
MacLeod said she likes that CTP has added gluten-free options, but does not believe the changes will attract a bigger crowd during lunchtime.
“I don't think its use is going to change too much,” she said, adding that she thinks that people will still only go to CTP in search for late-night food.
One aspect of the old restaurant will not follow CTP to Dryden Avenue: the wall filled from ceiling to floor with signatures and expressions of profanity.
Attia said the wall, which was visible from CTP’s College Avenue window, received negative comments and deterred out-of-town and adult clientele.
“People want a clean environment,” Attia said. “I know it gets crazy at night, but people don’t appreciate it. This is one thing that we have to change.”
Attia added that the new outdoor dining space will serve as a bonus for CTP.
Meanwhile, Avramis, who also owns the premises of Starbuck’s and Stella’s Restaurant on College Avenue, said he believes CTP’s old location will soon be filled.
“Since it was a pizza shop and it’s such a good location, a lot of pizza owners in the area and out of town have been asking about it,” Avramis said.
He said other interested renters include owners of Chinese, Italian and sandwich eateries.
“It’s going to get rented very soon. I’m kind of holding out for the right tenants,” Avramis said.
As for CTP, Attia said the business hopes to start on the right foot by offering half-price deals for its grand opening later this month.
“We hope this might double the business,” Attia said.