The Pizzeria, a popular Merchants-on-Points vendor, has recently closed for business—leaving one fewer option for students to spend food points.
Duke Dining received a complaint that The Pizzeria—commonly referred to as Cinelli's—had not been answering calls placed for deliveries. After a member of the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee noted the same experience when they called earlier in the month, Robert Coffey, director of dining services, called the owner to discuss the issue.
He found that the restaurant had been officially closed in early September. The Pizzeria has given no notice of the closure, and the owner is currently trying to sell the restaurant, Coffey said.
DUSDAC subsequently removed The Pizzeria’s information from the MOP website and is currently looking at other vendors to fill the spot. They are considering other choices such as Mexican food, dessert and late night eateries, said junior Brian Taylor, co-chair of the DUSDAC.
“Our first instinct is to replace it with a similar kind of food,” Taylor said. “But the difference is that we have so many pizza places already.”
There is no definite time frame as to when the spot will be filled, but DUSDAC has already communicated with several potential vendors in an effort to fill a previous vendor deficit.
“We will go quickly, but also be as thorough as possible,” Taylor said.
He added that this situation has occurred before, both with food trucks and MOP restaurants.
“Losing Cinelli’s is unfortunate because there were a lot of people who really liked it,” Taylor said. “The one thing that will mitigate the problem is that Cinelli’s is one of many options for pizza and Italian food. It may have been their favorite place, but there are plenty of other options.”
The Pizzeria was the only specialty, full-service Italian restaurant—with menu options that included pasta, calzones, stromboli and salads—on the MOP program after Pizza Mia was removed in the Spring. Serrano Deli was selected to replace the venue in delivery options, but the restaurant closed during the summer leaving the MOP program short once again.
DUSDAC opted to invite Vine Sushi and Thai to fill this void, but—following a change in management—announced in the Fall that they would not be joining.
In the aftermath of the announcement, the committee has been considering other potential options such as The Q Shack, Chubby’s Tacos and Heavenly Buffaloes—the recently opened chicken wings restaurant off of Ninth Street.
Most recently, the committee has considered student-favorites Sushi Love and Monuts Donuts.
The student body has displayed distinct enthusiasm for the possibility of adding Sushi Love to the MOP vendors. Research conducted by sophomores Colin Power and Kevin Hatch, co-directors of restaurants for Campus Enterprises, revealed a preference for Sushi Love over other sushi restaurants such as Mount Fuji and Vine Sushi.
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