Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan at Bromley Hall in Champaign

1974 - 1977


3rd & Chalmers, 910 S Third, Champaign, Illinois 61820

(217) 344-1200

Description — Permanently Closed

Around 1974 the Flying Tomato Brothers opened a location at Bromley Hall at the University of Illinois.1 2 It had the distinction of being listed in the “75 Good Eaters” guide.3

In 1971 a small piece published in The Daily Illini announced that Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan was born on Saturday, April 17 measuring 15 inches and weighing 4 pounds, 6 ounces.4 Over the next several years the “Flying Tomato Brothers”5 Ralph Senn and Joe Ream grew an innovative, cleverly-marketed pizza parlor at the University of Illinois into a multi-state college and shopping mall tradition.6 The two soon literally became the Flying Tomato Brothers as they incorporated hot-air balloon rides and other balloon-related promotions into their business.7 As Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan expanded, “Flying Tomato” was chosen as the restaurant name in southern states.8

In the 2000s business was tough for the Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan and Flying Tomato restaurants, and many of the locations shut down. Today, only a small number remain in operation.9 10

Unfortunately, this location of Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan closed around 1977.11


  1. Ad: Heart-Shaped Pizza in a Pan, The Daily Illini, Feb 9, 1974 

  2. Article: Urbana pans Garcia’s, The Daily Illini, January 26, 1974 

  3. Guide: A Guide to 75 Good Eateries in Champaign-Urbana, Ads to Go 

  4. Ad: A Blessed Event, The Daily Illini, Apr 23, 1971 

  5. Ad: Pan Pizza, The Daily Illini, Oct 22, 1971 

  6. Article: A slice of tradition, The Illio, 1982 

  7. Ad: Would you ride in a balloon with these two?, The Decatur Herald, Nov 9, 1979 

  8. Ad: Now Open!!, The North Texas Daily, Sep 4, 1984 

  9. Guide: Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan - 313 N Mattis Ave, Champaign, IL, Yelp 

  10. Guide: Garcia’s Pizza - 1099 W Main St, Decatur, IL, Yelp 

  11. Article: University of Illinois, 150 Years & Beyond, Jeri Weinstein, The News-Gazette 


  1. Is Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan at Bromley Hall in Champaign really gone?
    Yes, it really is.
  2. It’s permanently closed?
    Yes. Sorry.
  3. Do you understand my pain right now?
    Just try to remember the good times.


  • 1975 November 14

    Garcia’s in Bromley Hall 344-1200
    The Flying Tomato had landed
    • “The Flying Tomato had landed”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Nov 14, 1975
  • 1975 September 19

    In Bromley Hall - 3rd & Chalmers: 3/25¢ pins & 15 min pick-up. 344-1200
    What is The Flying Tomato?
    • “What is The Flying Tomato?”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Sep 19, 1975
  • 1974 April 5

    In Champaign: Garcia’s in Bromley Hall (910 S. Third) 344-1200 Plenty of seating
    Whole Wheat Crust! Is Nutritious!!
    • “Whole Wheat Crust! Is Nutritious!!”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Apr 5, 1974
  • 1974 February 9

    Garcia’s at Bromley Hall
    Heart-Shaped Pizza in a Pan
    • “Heart-Shaped Pizza in a Pan”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Feb 9, 1974
  • 1974 January 26

    Orders are still taken from the familiar Garcia’s phone number, but the order is transferred to the Garcia’s at Bromley Hall, and baked and delivered from that location.
    Urbana pans Garcia’s
    • “Urbana pans Garcia’s”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Jan 26, 1974