One Response to “Pizza Royale Shuts Doors After 24 Years”
December 31st, 2011
So sorry to see Phil leaving Corona del Mar. He made great pastries and pizza. We'll miss you Phil.
Owner Philip Conte sold the business and is retiring, he said in an interview today. He plans to return to Italy, where he grew up between Rome and Naples, to work on a house he built there. He might return in a few months and get back into the restaurant business, he said, but his plans are up in the air.
“I’m very, very sad, but it’s like I’m happy,” Conte said. “The last week, people came in and were so nice. For the past month, really. I took for granted how many loyal customers I had. I was overwhelmed.”
On Saturday, Conte was no longer making pastas and pizzas (“I’m out of cheese almost,” he said.) but was taking phone calls, selling his homemade cookies and pastries and bidding farewell to friends and customers.
“We’re going to miss you,” one man said. “God bless you.”
Conte said he opened in Corona del Mar in 1987 and moved to the current location at 3330 East Coast Highway in July 2003. Conte, who learned to cook from his aunt who is a chef, said he made his own pastries and sauces, using secret recipes handed down in his families.
The small restaurant became a favorite of the OASIS Senior Center crowd, who would gather every other Thursday to meet for dinner and listen to the accordion music of John Valeriano; read our earlier story here, complete with audio of the music.
A new restaurant will likely open in about a month, Conte said, adding that he believed the new business would have more of a French cafe feel but may still sell pizza and pasta.
“I’ve worked hard,” Conte said. “I need a little rest. But I’m sad. I didn’t expect such a response — what a response. Tons of customers stopped by to say goodbye. It was nice. But things got to go on.”