ORANGE CITY—Fans of a popular Orange City eatery were caught off-guard when it unexpectedly closed its doors permanently Saturday, Dec. 28.
Customers who drove to P’s Pizza House that day were greeted with a sign announcing the Orange City location was no longer in business and that supporters should patron the sports bars locations in LeMars and Dakota Dunes, SD.
A month before closing, the Orange City P’s Pizza House was advertising for additional servers and kitchen staff.
P’s Pizza House owner Joe Sitzmann, who has owned and operated the LeMars-based chain since 2009, gave no specific reason for the closure.
He confirmed he was shuttering the Orange City location in a post on the P’s Facebook page Monday.
“As we close the door on one adventure, we at P’s Pizza House would like to thank Orange City for having us in their community the last three and a half years,” the post read. “We are not only grateful for the people we have met, the connections we have made, and lessons we have learned, but for the opportunities that lie ahead.”
P’s opened its Orange City location in May 2016. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant/sports bar specialized in pizza and craft beers and offered what Sitzmann considered a fresh take on American-style dining.
The rotating menu boasted unique pizzas such as the award-winning pepperoni cream cheese pie and craft burgers created with a blend of beef short rib, brisket and chuck.
Sitzmann prides himself on finding quality ingredients for his restaurants, a sentiment he shared with The REVIEW in 2016.
“You can go down the road and get a pizza, you can go down the road and get a burger, but can you get the kinds of burgers and the kinds of pizza made with the best ingredients possible down the road?” Sitzmann said. “I like to think you can’t.”
The Orange City location was located in the Holland Plaza shopping center, which is owned by the Krull family of Orange City.
Aaron Krull said they are working with Orange City economic development director Mark Gaul on filling the space with the hopes of attracting another sports bar.
Gaul noted it has been community goal for Orange City to have a sports bar/grill and he thinks they can fill that need yet again.
“It’s unfortunate that P’s didn’t work out,” he said.
Krull did not want to speak for Sitzmann, but his theory on why the restaurateur closed his Sioux County seat location was that he was overstretched.
When Sitzmann opened P’s Orange City, he only had two businesses to worry about.
Since opening the Orange City location nearly four years ago, Sitzmann also became co-owner of Iowa Barbecue Co. in LeMars, which opened in summer 2018, and he opened his 8,000-square-foot Dakota Dunes P’s at end of 2018.
“It was a lot for one guy to take on,” Krull said.
He also noted the Orange City location went through a few managers and had staffing issues, which impacted service and turned some people in the region against the restaurant.
“Things started to pick up, but I think the damage was done,” Krull said. “He’s going to commit himself to his LeMars and Dakota Dunes locations and, unfortunately, something had to give. It was just a whole bunch of things happened in the last year or so.”
On a positive note, Krull said it is a turnkey operation and Sitzmann is willing to sell all the kitchen equipment, furniture and televisions in the restaurant to a potential buyer.
“As lease owners, we obviously want somebody to take up the reins and have a good product and still have a sports bar in Orange City,” Krull said.
The restaurant’s interior has a sleek modern aesthetic, it can seat 122 people, has a private/overflow dining area and boasts more than 20 TVs.
“Someone can come in, hire a staff, create a menu, get a new sign up and they are off and running,” Krull said.
He noted Gaul was going to start working to fill the space immediately, something the economic development director echoed.
“We are looking for someone who to be interested in purchasing everything,” Gaul said.