Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan at Lando Court in Champaign

1971 - 1973


Lando Place Courtyard, 6th off Green, 707 S Sixth St, Champaign, Illinois 61820

(217) 344-1212

Description — Permanently Closed

The Flying Tomato Brothers took flight on their pizza adventure in the early 70s in Lando Place Courtyard.1

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.2 Over the next several years the “Flying Tomato Brothers”3 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.4 The two soon literally became the Flying Tomato Brothers as they incorporated hot-air balloon rides and other balloon-related promotions into their business.5 As Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan expanded, “Flying Tomato” was chosen as the restaurant name in southern states.6

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.7 8

Unfortunately, the original location of Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan closed in 1973.9


  1. Ad: Chicago-Style Pan Pizza Has Finally Come!, The Daily Illini, May 6, 1971 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. Ad: Garcia’s Today! And Every Wed - Regular, The Daily Illini, May 30, 1973 


  1. Is Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan at Lando Court 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.


  • 1973 May 30

    In the Lando Place Courtyard
    Garcia’s Today! And Every Wed
    • “Garcia’s Today! And Every Wed”
    • The Daily Illini
    • May 30, 1973
  • 1973 May 18

    Snarf It Down, Kids!
    • “Snarf It Down, Kids!”
    • The Daily Illini
    • May 18, 1973
  • 1971 May 6

    Chicago-Style Pan Pizza Has Finally Come!
    • “Chicago-Style Pan Pizza Has Finally Come!”
    • The Daily Illini
    • May 6, 1971
  • 1971 April 23

    Born: Saturday, April 17, 1971 15 inches - 4 pounds, 6 ounces GARCIA’S PIZZA in a PAN 707 S. Sixth - In Lando Place 344-1212
    A Blessed Event