Campus Pizza closes its doors after 56 years

The iconic restaurant shut its doors for good last month due to a year of sales losses.

A recently closed Campus Pizza sits vacantly in Stadium Village on Wednesday afternoon.

Liam James Doyle

A recently closed Campus Pizza sits vacantly in Stadium Village on Wednesday afternoon.

by Barry Lytton

Campus Pizza and Pasta, a former Stadium Village staple, drew students and alumni to its vaunted brick-and-mortar storefront throughout its 56-year history. But last month, the business that hosted events ranging from open-mic comedy nights to game day celebrations closed its doors for the last time. Owners of the family-run business said one of the reasons it shut down was because it saw a decrease in foot traffic and sales for a year because of construction on the Green Line light rail. âÄúItâÄôs the sad end of a chapter,âÄù said Jim Rosvold, co-owner and manager during the restaurantâÄôs later life. The effects of the light rail construction dug the restaurant into a financial hole that it couldnâÄôt recover from, he said. The restaurant opened in Stadium Village in 1959, and about three decades later, the Rosvold family bought it. The business moved in 2009 from its original location to its final space âÄî a larger one across the street, where Rosvold said it thrived with a larger pizza oven and full bar. But when light-rail construction picked up around the University in 2012, business slowed, and the restaurant never recovered, he said. The business unsuccessfully filed for bankruptcy last summer. âÄúThe light rail took off all the parking on Washington, and that killed a lot of that traffic,âÄù Rosvold said. âÄúWe used to have a lot of people come in from the suburbs.âÄù With her aunt and uncle, University of Minnesota horticulture senior Abby Reynolds would eat at Campus Pizza every day there was a Gophers game. The tradition started when the couple attended the University and carried over when Reynolds enrolled. Now, she said, theyâÄôll have to find a new place to split a pizza and catch up before hockey games. âÄúIt was nice going somewhere that felt family-style,âÄù Reynolds said. Trevor Anderson began working at Campus Pizza as a University sophomore seven years ago and remained there even after he graduated in 2010. Anderson, a comedian, took advantage of the restaurantâÄôs relaxed atmosphere and started a weekly open-mic night about a year ago that brought in about 15 to 20 comedians each session. âÄúI loved the people that would come in there,âÄù he said. âÄúI called it the âÄòmaroon and oldâÄô crowd, [or] the season ticket holders, [and] the people that went to Campus Pizza when they were in college.âÄù Shelley Quiala worked at Campus Pizza during her freshman and sophomore years at the University in 1996. Quiala said she remembers her time at the restaurant as a central part of her college experience. And as the Rosvold family and its fans close the Campus Pizza chapter of their lives, theyâÄôre still honoring the businessâÄôs 56-year history. âÄúWeâÄôve had customers that weâÄôve known that visited Campus Pizza in the âÄô60s that visited up until last week,âÄù Rosvold said.