That Pizza Place is gone, and Beach Break Cafe goes vegan

That Pizza Place in Carlsbad unexpectedly shut down in June after 43 years in business.
(Courtesy photo)

Carlsbad pizzeria closes after 43 years; O’side cafe now serves Impossible sausage


Financial fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic has killed off several San Diego County restaurants and breweries in recent months, but the unexpected shutdown of That Pizza Place in Carlsbad after 43 years in business went viral on social media.

In a post on the pizzeria’s Facebook page June 23, owners wrote that they were “heartbroken” to be closing the restaurant at the end of June, but they were out of options. The post was shared more than 1,600 times and more than 1,300 people commented on it, sharing their nostalgic stories of dining over the years at the restaurant in the Carlsbad Plaza South shopping center.

“The situation we all find ourselves in has created an environment under which we were unable to prosper,” the owners wrote. “Despite all this we would like to thank everyone who supported us over the past 43 years with your loyal patronage. We will never forget the amazing memories we made together and we hope that you will not forget us.”

Efforts to reach owners Tony and Jenny Smart by phone and email were unsuccessful, but an outpouring of support from customers painted a picture of the restaurant as a popular neighborhood hangout that served generations of Carlsbad residents.

That Pizza Place is famous for launching the music careers of the newgrass trio Nickel Creek in the mid-1980s. Siblings Sean and Sara Watkins and friend Chris Thile were grade-schoolers when they started performing together on Saturday nights on the restaurant’s stage.

On Facebook, longtime customer Marleen Nordyke Helmlinger wrote that any family who had children growing up in Carlsbad in the 1970s and ‘80s dined at That Pizza Place, and it was likely that any Carlsbad child who played baseball or soccer during those years had their team’s picture up on the restaurant’s sports wall.

“Sadly after 43 years they have been forced to close because of COVID-19,” Helmlinger wrote. “When I read today that they had closed a few days ago a flood of memories rushed through my memory. I’m feeling sad and a little nostalgic but thankful for a place where our family and friends shared so many memories.”

O’side cafe among first to serve Impossible sausage

Beach Break Cafe in Oceanside is the first restaurant on the West Coast to serve Impossible Foods’ new sausage product made entirely from plants.

To introduce its new sausage product to restaurant kitchens, Impossible Foods worked with Yelp to choose 30 diners nationwide that the website defined as “America’s 30 top diners.” They were chosen based on Yelp customer ratings in the diner category.

A dish made with Impossible Foods' new plant-based sausage product.
A dish made with Impossible Foods’ new plant-based sausage product.
(Courtesy of Impossible Foods)

The winning restaurants were given a free supply of the Impossible Sausage to use for developing recipes. The pork-like sausage is the first product Impossible Foods has introduced since the Impossible Burger in 2016.

Beach Break is at 1802 S. Coast Highway in Oceanside. Visit