Rosebowl Pizza may be an institution in Oliver, but if you want one last pizza in their original location on 117st just north of Jasper Avenue, you better hurry. Rosebowl’s owner, Sam Moukhaiber, says he will close at the end of June, so he and his family can focus their efforts on getting a planned new location open by 2017.
When I sat down with him to chat about the closure and subsequent plans for a new downtown location, Moukhaiber revealed another bit of good news – the family has their sights set on adding a location in south Edmonton as well.
“The ball has been rolling on a new site for a long time already, and there’s a huge possibility that we could open downtown and south side at the same time”, says the veteran pizza maker. He’s hoping to capitalise on the fact that, as he puts it, “a lot of people that used to live here have now moved to the suburbs”.
This wouldn’t be the first time Rosebowl has ventured out from its home base. Years ago there was an attempt to have the pizza served in a pub in East Edmonton, but “it wasn’t being done right, and nobody there was cooking it like we do. They started getting complaints that it wasn’t the same, and my Uncle pulled it right out of there”.
Moukhaiber says at one time the family also “owned the Burger Baron on 99st and 70 ave., and we bought pizza ovens and expanded the southside delivery from there”.
As for his feelings on closing the location where Rosebowl has operated for some 37 years, the place he remembers running around the kitchen as a kid? “It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to let go for all of us. It was a really big decision”.
A lack of visibility at the original location is playing a big part in the move. Moukhaiber said that there was an opportunity in the past to expand into the adjacent corner space, which would have given Rosebowl the visibility they craved on busy Jasper Avenue, but he had just taken over BLVD, and the timing wasn’t right financially.
There’s excitement about the prospects for Rosebowl in the new location, but they won’t forget the history. They’re planning on having a history wall at the new location, featuring pictures of the family. “I want my kids to have what I had when I came here”.
When asked what he would say to people who suggest that the food just won’t be the same at a new location, Moukhaiber says, “Oh, it’ll be the same because the right people are there. Me, my mother, my father, and my brother are the cooks here. If it isn’t the same, I’m paying for it”.
Here are a couple of reactions from Twitter followers upon hearing the news of the original location closing:
— Nancy Milakovic (@nancymila) June 21, 2016
— Kim (@saysyrahsirah) June 21, 2016
@saysyrahsirah I think the magic is in the oven. So hopefully they take them with them to the new spot.
— Jessie Radies (@jessieradies) June 22, 2016
— Randall MacDonald (@LeRoiDeux) June 21, 2016