Feb 21, 2007

Bella Roma Pizza R.I.P.

for everyone that lives or grew up in Martinez you know about Bella Roma. I've written about it before.. its this kitschy old pizza place with a Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. the organ has huge pipes, instruments and a wall of drum stuff that the organ player controls. The pipes and drums and xylophones and what not are like built into the structure of this place. its pretty impressive. they also have a large toy train set that runs on tracks over your head with a crossing and everything. They usually play Chattanooga choo choo while they run the train. until about 6 years ago the pizza was really good too. The long time owners sold out to some foreigners and the new people couldnt make a pizza to save their life. over time it's gotten better but its nothing like it was when i was a kid. I remember going with my dad to pick it up and peeling the foil back on the covered cardboard they would serve it in to sneak a pepperoni on the drive home. lots of memories in that place.

Its one of those places I haven't really gone to in a long time and have sort of taken for granted. mostly because the pizza isn't as good. Its always in the back of my mind and i drive by it all the time knowing its there and thinking about one day going there again for old times sake.

here's some video from when i was there last year.

The other day I drove passed it and noticed a sign out front. Expecting to see some promotion or maybe even another "under new management" message but this one I had to do a double take on. It said "Moving to 101 Main St." .. Moving?! how can Bella Roma Pizza move? they have all that crap... the train the organ, the xylophone in the wall.. the little ride cymbal mounted on the wall with a mechanical arm that makes a little drumstick move. how?!

I dunno what we can really do, i'm sure the ink is already dry on the deal. If you know downtown Martinez, i'm pretty sure 101 main st. is the old Main St. Tavern across from Pacifica Pizza. nice move morons. Pacifica OWNS the downtown pizza racket. unless they bring all the bells and whistles and seriously step up their pizza game i think this will be the end of a slow painful death for the Martinez institution, Bella Roma Pizza.


Rita said...

You know, you should make a point to go there one last time before they close, or have they closed already?

Hey! Maybe they aren't going to move all that crap, and you could get it for cheap! You could have the organ all set up at your place! That would be cool. Or kinda creepy, depending on your point of view.

Mr. Stuart said...

I hate it when that happens. There are places in Tampa that I remember growing up with that would unceremoniously kick the bucket when I was in highschool, or while I've been in Philly.

Anonymous said...

That is sad to hear about Bella Roma Pizza. I too went there as a kid. I would bug my parents to drive me all the way from Stockton once a year in the late 70s to hear Dave Reese play. I still have a signed LP of his and am still nuts about old pipe organs.

Any idea of the closing date?

Anonymous said...

It's already closed- I used to go to Concord Bella (that's what we called it) to hear Dave Reese- what a waste, died of a drug overdose.

we went one night before it closed totally by luck. some issue with the land lord. I don't know the details, but the place was dead. Again, too bad.

I'll be curious to see how the new digs turn out...

Kay Lne said...

Thanks for the memories! I have 5 eight track tapes of DAve Reese playing - some in Martinez, some in Concord. I treasure every song.
Kay Lane