Turlock’s Lamppost Pizza Closes

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The Turlock Cinema Center has been struck by its second business closure in as many weeks.

Lamppost Pizza, located in the Turlock Cinema Center on West Main Street, went out of business Monday morning. Dairy Queen, also located in the center, closed Oct. 1.

Lamppost Pizza owner and franchisee Celia Brophy says the pizzeria employed 8 to 10 part-time employees and was open for nine years.

Brophy says a deal with the neighboring Turlock Poker Room fell through, causing the business to fail. She claims the poker room was supposed to pay rent for the Lamppost space from April to this November as part of a buyout deal that included more than $50,000 worth of rent. The Turlock Poker Room had planned to purchase the space to expand their operations, she said.

Turlock Poker Room & Casino Co-Owner Philip Rheinschild, Jr. said there was never a buyout offer, and that Brophy mischaracterized the discussions.

“They approached us asking if we would be interested in their space as an attempt to get out of their lease agreement,” Rheinschild said. “Through negotiations, we were not able to come to terms that were acceptable to Turlock Poker Room."

Brophy also blames the Turlock Poker Room clientele for Lamppost Pizza's closure.

“If you ask my why we went out of business it is because ever since Turlock Poker Room moved in their clientele has scared away our customers. This is a family environment,” she said.

Ironically enough, Lamppost Pizza was the only business at the Turlock Cinema Center that served alcoholic beverages.

Rheinschild indicated that Lamppost Pizza received a significant amount of business from both the poker room and its clientele.

“Since moving to the Turlock Cinema Center in 2009, we have followed a policy of working collaboratively with our neighbor businesses to the betterment of everyone. We have documented on-site sales with Lamppost Pizza well in excess of six-figures, not to mention all the customer traffic our patrons provided outside of the Turlock Poker Room. We are on-track with our plans to expand with the addition of a full-service bar in the suite adjacent to the movie theater. We wish the owners and staff of Lamppost Pizza the best of luck in the future,” he said.

According to sources close to the Turlock Cinema Center, the Starbucks located in the center was slated for closure until the Turlock Poker Room opened. The business brought with it many new Starbucks customers, translating into higher profits for the location.

Comments 29

  1. REALLY? says:

    Maybe your food was horrible and your high prices was why you went out of business. Pay your rent and maybe somebody would be interested in buying your franchise. What happened to Dairy Queen? They didn’t blame the Turlock Poker Room for going out of business. Sounded like their rent was more than they could afford.

  2. Expensive pizza! says:

    Your pizza was too EXPENSIVE! Open an Incredible John’s so we have something for the kids.

  3. Too bad says:

    Too bad i loved this place for our softball team

  4. Whatever says:

    The service at Lampost Pizza was horrible. It took for ever to get your food and then you paid through the nose. They find themselves out of business because they ran their business poorly. That it; no excuses.

  5. momtaxi says:

    I don’t see the need for all the bitter comments. Owning a small business in the state of California is a tough go now days. Regardless of the differences between these businesses another family and their employees are without or are seeking work elsewhere. We should walk a mile in their shoes before we pass judgement.

  6. Mr. Stephenson says:

    Their food was way over priced, and the owners attitudes were very rude. They obviously didn’t know how to run a profitable business, and instead chose to blame others for their mistakes. The owners might want to take a course in Business 101, and also Public Relations.

  7. green acres says:

    Lamppost has had financial issues for years and has come close to closing many times…the Poker Room has always patronized the businesses around them. I don’t go to the poker room -its just a fact. Unfortunately there are too many pizza places in town with better prices–and now Pizza Factory is open and their prices are more affordable and they have room for kids and sports teams.

  8. guest says:

    Yes, I agree- Lamppost was way too expensive and the food/service was never good. It always took forever to get the order; when going there before seeing a movie, time was an issue. We only went there when our teams had parties there.

    But it is too bad they closed. I hope they get a good place in there. A family restaurant by the movie theater makes total sense, just one that is more affordable.

  9. What a load of crap says:

    The owners of Lamppost ran their business into the ground, plain and simple. To blame it on the poker room is a complete lie. When the place is dead, and you order food, it shouldn’t take 30 minutes to get it. They’d run their buffet from 11:30 to 2 or so, but you would go in at 11:45 and there would be no pizzas ready for the buffet. These people were cheap, wanted you to pay through the nose, and were downright rude. They never cleaned the bathrooms like they were supposed to, were rude to the poker room customers and staff, yet wanted the poker room to continue to give them business. Good riddance to bad pizza and horrible ownership.

  10. Jeremy says:

    They are right. I have an 11 and 15 year old and there were multiple times when we came out of the movies and there were 5-10 gamblers standing outside smoking with a couple security guards standing there. Definately not inviting to a family.

  11. Jeremy says:

    They were expensive but on par with an entertainment complex. The movies and gambling aren’t exactly cheap. They are correct that it wasn’t inviting. There were multiple times I walked out if the movies with my 11 and 15 year old and decided that 6-10 smoking gamblers and a couple security guards were not what I wanted my boys around.

  12. Monica Rucker says:

    Lamppost pizza was an amazing restaurant to have for my first job. I worked there for 4 years and continued to go back to eat. The owners were awesome and the employees became life long friends. I’m sad to see them go and will miss all of them and their pizza dearly. Ever since the poker room came in it was a headache and I hope nothing but the best for all involved. This article was poorly written by the way and does not give credit where credit is due. I love lamppost pizza and will forever remember it as my first job!! Rest in peace Turlock lamppost!!

  13. Debi says:

    :o:( Too bad things went south for Lamppost, regardless of the reason. Yes, I did have to hold my nose when Poker Room people, including the security guard (wth?) smoked right in front of the Lamppost doors. I believe there is a law stating that smoking must occur 20 feet away, but apparently the guard didn’t know that. Right.
    My husband and I loved going to Lamppost Pizza. We usually went before or after a movie, and once with a Groupon. The pizzetas were good and light in calories, the salad was adequate, and the beer was a great accompaniment. The service was fine for us, no complaints. I hope they find a better location, and neighbors who are more neighborly and family oriented. A poker room has no business in a shopping strip with a kids place and a movie theater. In my opinion, Turlock, you got rid of the wrong businesses (Dairy Queen too).

  14. ... Really says:

    You are all disgusting, posting rude comments about things you know nothing about! Bathrooms being dirty that was the job of the poker room. They were in charge of the bathrooms, and u are all saying it’s expensive, it’s because u were paying for quality. They pride themselves in buying the best products available. Before the poker room was out in lamppost was thriving! And the people who actually know the owners know they were not rude, they were constantly stressed out due to the problems they were facing with the poker room and their owner… I worked at lamppost and dealt with the poker room first hand. They were rude and made themselves home inside of our restaurant, grabbing ranch, drinks ext. so before all of you ignorant people come on here and write about things u have NO IDEA about..get your facts straight. U are saying the owners are rude, look at what u are doing. Being bullies.. And I thought that was looked down upon. Shame on all of you!

  15. Jose Rocha says:

    This makes me incredibly sad. I have had many fond memories eating at this pizzaria with friends and family. The pizza here was amazing, sure it might have been pricey, but well worth paying extra to not have to deal with irate football fans (not naming any teams…). The owners are great people and their service was next to none. The best pizza in town. Papa Murphy’s, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Juras, and all those other pizza parlors are second compared to the quality food Lampost had. Not to mention the great atmosphere. I wish nothing but the best to Kevin and the rest of the Lampost crew in their future endeavors.

  16. Poker room says:

    The Turlock Poker Room sponsored my kids baseball team some years back. We were grateful for the community support. We used to have our baseball team parties at Lamppost too but we started going to Juras when it was in the old spot. If we went somewhere else and it wasn’t because of the poker room than I’m sure other teams went somewhere else for the same reasons. Maybe price, atmostphere, quality or bad service.

  17. Drunks EVERYWHERE says:

    Lamp post pizza had a bunch of drunks out front and throwing their drinks at people.

    They left drunk too like drunk driving. Isn’t that illegal? And their pizza sucked a$$!

  18. Security says:

    I’ve taken my family to the movies at night and see the poker security guards walking ladies out to their cars can’t be that bad place

  19. Just like the dodo, the Brophy's had their head in the sand says:

    “Bathrooms being dirty that was the job of the poker room.” – It couldn’t have been from the parties that Lamppost held that had 30 or 40 kids peeing all over the seats, playing in the hallways unchecked and tripping customers from both establishments, and generally trashing the restrooms on a weekly basis?

    “u are all saying it’s expensive, it’s because u were paying for quality.” Try the Lamppost in Patterson, that’s quality. This location would take their leftover buffet pizzas that were sitting under the heat lamps for over an hour or so, re-cut the slices, then try and sell them to the poker room customers for a buck a piece.

    “Before the poker room was out in lamppost was thriving!” Is that why they were tying to sell the business years ago, because they were thriving? They signed a lease paying high rent and their crap service ran them into the ground.

    “And the people who actually know the owners know they were not rude, they were constantly stressed out due to the problems they were facing with the poker room and their owner”

    Not true, as someone who has seen both of the owners first hand be rude to not only customers, but Poker Room employees, management, as well as customers, this is flat out wrong. When someone posts a sign on their window saying “Poker Room Customers do not use our entrance” a few years back, it paints a picture of both owners not only being socially inept, but stupid business wise.

    “They were rude and made themselves home inside of our restaurant, grabbing ranch, drinks ext.” Usually that’s what paying customers do, sit down, enjoy your meal and drink, and get these things. Lamppost went out of their way to make Poker Room customers feel like second class citizens. Also, how about the Lamppost employees that came over every day and took advantage of the free coffee, hot chocolate, donuts, etc. I’m sure you enjoyed many of those beverages yet no one ever from the Poker Room told you to get out.

    Here’s another thing, Lamppost Pizza reported the Poker Room for offering their customers food from other establishments. The Poker Room used to order exclusively through Lamppost for all of their major tournaments etc, but when Lamppost would go out of its way to overcharge for an order of 20+ pizzas, they left the Poker Room no choice to go elsewhere for cheaper, and better pizza.

    Another thing, Lamppost had zero problem over-serving their customers alcohol, which in turn would create more problems for the Poker Room when these customers would come in blitzed beyond belief.

    Regarding the smoking out front, Lamppost didn’t seem to have a problem with its customers smoking in their gated section, but they have a problem with Poker Room employees smoking under a shade structure 25 feet away?

    Lets get down to the real nitty gritty, it was only when the Poker Room got approved for their Liquor License did the nastiness from the Lamppost Pizza owners really come out. These owners were some of the worst business people I have seen in a long time, I truly don’t understand how they stayed in business this long. For someone to say the movie theater is next, that’s their fault as well. When you have a corporate office based in Georgia or wherever that has zero knowledge of this town and the last show broadcasts at 8 or 9pm, you are doomed. When you can go to Modesto for 5 dollar movies and Turlock refuses to adapt because as employees there have said “We have no competition in this town”, you draw the picture. Unlike the movie theaters, Lamppost had tons of competition here, and when you can get a hands down much better pizza at AA Gasoline (formerly Chevron) on West Main for 1/3 the price, you draw the picture.

  20. Monika bekosi says:

    Now the card room owners can get the place for free. Amazing

  21. Beatriz says:

    Lamppost was a great family restaurant. My son’s first job was working there for a year until he went into the military. Our family would go there at least twice a month over the years. We loved the food, atmosphere and service. Yes, every restaurant makes mistakes, but Lamppost was always happy and quick to resolve the error. However once the Poker Room came in we went a little less often because we had to park so far away because of the Poker Room customers who stay there 5+, gamblers chain-smoking right out front and the “scary” people in the hall and bathrooms, as my daughter declared on more than one visit. We couldn’t even let the kids go to the restroom by themselves because of the drug deals and prostitution that was going on in there. I’ve even heard about them confiscating guns & knives, too. The Poker Room really should be in a building all by itself somewhere. Not next to family friendly businesses. Let’s see, first Fun Works closes, then Dairy Queen and Lamppost. Next the Turlock Cinemas will close then I guess the Poker Room will take over the whole complex.

  22. Monika bekosi says:

    Now the card room owners don’t have to pay anything to get the place. The plan worked

  23. Ex employee says:

    The only person who scared away customers was the owners themselves. When I worked there back in the 00s they were cutting every single corner they could to cut costs, sometimes didnt honor customers coupons, would create unnecessary drama in the workplace and treated their employees like dirt! Good riddance.

  24. S.E.S says:

    Lamppost was my first job and I worked there about a year but my family has been going there since it opened. Best pizza in town! Yeah it was more expensive than some other places but I think the fresh quality produce was well worth it. Anyone that worked the day shift there would know that with how much time we spent chopping vegetables and prepping food every day it had to be fresh. I couldn’t have asked for a better working environment or better coworkers and employers. Poker room caused plenty of problems that often had to be ignored because if they were confronted they would refuse to do business with us for days at a time. There were multiple occasions when poker room clients and employees used the lamppost entrance before we opened or after we closed, being rude to our paying customers and staff. That’s the reason they were asked to no longer use the entrance. The earlier comment about them making themselves at home was directed at the employees not the customers. It wasn’t a problem until they got too comfortable. We were told we were welcome to the coffee and besides that we stayed out of the poker room all together. When clientele from next door ordered food, instead of the ladies working there, they were rude more often than not and would try to pay less than the price for their food or leave without giving a name or come back and change their order after their food was already made. Because the two establishments shared the bathrooms there was an agreement made that poker room would be in charge of them being cleaned. If they were dirty that was their responsibility. When poker room was serving other food to their customers yeah they were called out on in because that’s what any self respecting dinning establishment would do. Their employees do not have their food handling certification so they had no right to be serving open food. The owners of lamppost went out of their way to make special coupons for the poker room and accommodate them in every way possible but that was a difficult thing to do when they were only interested in taking advantage. I’m sorry to see people treating the Brophy’s poorly because they are some great people I’m happy to still have in my life even after my employment ended.

  25. Glenn B says:

    It’s plain and simple, the owners didn’t know how to run a profitable business. They were in debt, stopped paying rent, and then expected a successful business to bail them out. Why would a successful business want to take on a doomed business? Common sense really!!

  26. Let's be honest now.... says:

    The owners of LP are crazy and delirious if they think Poker Room had any fault of their place closing!!! I’m a customer to both places and I’ve never seen a business ran so poorly!!! You have an establishment (poker room) who is willing to push business for you in their place and all you could offer was a Mini Pizza (4 small slices) for $6-$7 and dam $8-$9 if you wanted a combo!! Lunch buffet never starts at 11.. more like 12 because they will not start anything until they have a paid customer.. so if you were trying to do your 30 min lunch for work, don’t bother because you probably will get half your $$ worth..

    And let’s not talk about how Kevin hates to give a refund!! They make it wrong, you’re bad!! I’ve seen him YELL at one of the waitresses from poker room for returning food that was made wrong.. BY HIM!!

    And someone said, you go couple times a month, well that means its too dam expensive if you can only go 2 times a month to your fave pizza place??!!

    You ex employees, lets be honest, a lot of you were not happy employees!! We seen it on your face!!

    Parking was never an issue for me unless there was a hot new release at the theaters..

    “Poker Room has scary people”.. lol.. but lets not mention all the sports fans that come to watch the games and drink way beyond their need, yell out profanity at random people while hanging off the iron fence smoking, and get loud and rowdy during the games inside… Why would i want to bring my kids there?? Oh, let’s also not mention the 6-7 kiddos, who do come with parents, in the restrooms and hallways playing tag or dodge ball, running all the faucets, or just sitting on the ground of the restroom with their friends chit chatting in the walk way..

    Lack of customer service, HIGH prices, and their nasty attitude closed it down..

    Sorry too say, but there’s WAY BETTER pizza for WAY LESS PRICE in Turlock!!!

  27. Let's be honest now... says:

    The owners of LP are crazy and delirious if they think Poker Room had any fault of their place closing!!! I’m a customer to both places and I’ve never seen a business ran so poorly!!! You have an establishment (poker room) who is willing to push business for you in their place and all you could offer was a Mini Pizza (4 small slices) for $6-$7 and dam $8-$9 if you wanted a combo!! Lunch buffet never starts at 11.. more like 12 because they will not start anything until they have a paid customer.. so if you were trying to do your 30 min lunch for work, don’t bother because you probably will get half your $$ worth..

    And let’s not talk about how the Owner Kevin, hates to give a refund!! They make it wrong, you’re bad!! I’ve seen him YELL at one of the waitresses from poker room for returning food that was made wrong.. BY HIM!!

    And someone said, you go couple times a month, well that means its too dam expensive if you can only go 2 times a month to your fave pizza place??!!

    You ex employees, lets be honest, a lot of you were not happy employees!! We seen it on your face!!

    Parking was never an issue for me unless there was a hot new release at the theaters..

    “Poker Room has scary people”.. lol.. but lets not mention all the sports fans (not everyone but they do have their groups and you guys know they do) that come to watch the games and drink way beyond their need, yell out profanity at random people while hanging off the iron fence smoking, and get loud and rowdy during the games inside… Why would i want to bring my kids there?? Oh, let’s also not mention the 6-7 kiddos, who do come with parents, in the restrooms and hallways playing tag or dodge ball, running all the faucets, or just sitting on the ground of the restroom with their friends chit chatting in the walk way..

    Lack of customer service, HIGH prices, and their nasty attitude closed it down..

  28. Mary Rodriguez says:

    Lampost was a pretty good place to have birthday parties, but after an while I noticed a decline in the quality of food. I’m sure the owners did their best, but couldn’t make a profit. Economy is tough for everyone. To blame another business though is embarrassing. My husband and I are customers at both businesses, so it is sad to see a business close. But honestly the owners of Lampost Pizza need to take responsibility, and not act like children about the situation. Their business wasn’t profitable period. Brush yourself off and move on. But don’t embarrass yourself further by blaming others for your own mistakes.

  29. Jury is out says:

    After reading all the arguments and comments regarding the closure of Lampost pizza, I find the owners GUILTY on all counts of mismanagent and poor business practices.

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