ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Scarpas Brick Oven Pizza, the decades-old Northeast Heights Italian restaurant, is shutting down its Montgomery location by the end of November, according to restaurant owner Joe Sommers.
The property at 9700 Montgomery NE – which is owned by developer and Scarpas brand owner Josh Skarsgard – will then be redeveloped into a gas station.
A building permit for a gas station was filed at that address on Sept. 9 by Murphy Oil USA, Inc. Once completed, it will be the third gas station near the Montgomery and Eubank intersection.
While the Montgomery location is closing, Sommers said he is looking to open another Scarpas location in the near future, possibly at the Coors Pavilion Shopping Center at Coors and St. Josephs, a property which is also owned by Skarsgard.
“We are working on something in the future,” Sommers said. “It may be Coors Pavillion, but that wouldn’t be a replacement.”
Sommers the Coors location is much smaller at 2,000 square feet compared to the 6,000-square-foot Montgomery location.
In the meantime, the original location of Scarpas at 5500 Academy NE will remain open.
With the closure, 40 employees will be laid off, though Sommers said he would like to rehire as many as possible when the time comes, but ultimately some hard decisions will have to be made.
“My predicament is I have people who have worked for me since the day that I’ve opened, so the guy who worked for me for only 10 years gets let go,” he said. “They’re not fun choices to make and I haven’t made those decisions yet.”
Sommers has been with Scarpas from the start, he said.
He first began working for Scarpas founder Jim Schumacher in 1983 and helped open the first Scarpas location in 1997. The Montgomery location opened in 2000.
Sommers bought the restaurants from Schumacher in January.
Skarsgard has not returned a call for comment.