It may be the worst kept secret in Columbia. Pizza Man, which has been a Rosewood Avenue institution for more than 20 years, is closing.
Or is it?
Owner Forrest Whitlark has declined to contact The State after numerous calls and visits to Pizza Man and his sister restaurant, Rockaway Athletic Club.
Everyone seems to think the closing of the restaurant – known for its thin-crust pizza, two-for-one pies on Thursdays and dive-bar atmosphere – is a foregone conclusion. But there has been no official confirmation.
Media reports, confirmed Monday by The State, show that an architect has applied for a permit with the city of Columbia to build a Doctor’s Care at 2601 Rosewood Dr., a triangular parcel of land adjacent to Pizza Man and used for Pizza Man parking. The lot is owned by James E. Knight Jr., according to county records.
However, Pizza Man is located at 341 S. Woodrow St., a parcel owned by the Herbert Hoefer Marital Trust, along with another adjacent lot at 356 S. Harden St. which used to be a consignment shop.
When contacted last week, former S.C. Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal, a member of the Hoffer family, said the sale of Pizza Man and the adjoining Harden Street lot is pending, but hasn’t closed. She declined further comment until it does.
Published reports said the restaurant would close Friday.
Knight, an attorney, confirmed that the sales were in motion when contacted late Monday, but would not name the buyer or say whether Pizza Man is closing.
“I have been asked by the buyer who is buying the property,” he said with a laugh. “But you seem to be on the right track. I think the cat is out of the bag.”