Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan at Lincoln & Nevada in Urbana

1974 - 1999

Formerly

Lincoln & Nevada, 803 S Lincoln, Urbana, Illinois 61801

(217) 344-1212

Description — Permanently Closed

The 1974 opening of the Lincoln & Nevada location of Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan was immediately followed by a rocky reception from some of the nearby residents concerning zoning issues.1 It had the distinction of being listed in the “75 Good Eaters” guide.2

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.3 Over the next several years the “Flying Tomato Brothers”4 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.5 The two soon literally became the Flying Tomato Brothers as they incorporated hot-air balloon rides and other balloon-related promotions into their business.6 As Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan expanded, “Flying Tomato” was chosen as the restaurant name in southern states.7

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.8 9

Unfortunately, this location of Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan closed in 1999.10

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  10. Article: Champaign, Ill.-Based Pizza Chain Focuses on Minimarts over Restaurants, The News-Gazette, January 5, 2000 

FAQ

  1. Is Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan at Lincoln & Nevada in Urbana 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.

Timeline

  • 1996 January 1

    Lincoln & Nevada
    Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan
    • “Garcia’s Pizza in a Pan”
    • Sigma-Signs
    • Jan 1, 1996
    • isarchived.com
  • 1975 November 14

    Garcia’s at Lincoln & Nevada 344-1212
    The Flying Tomato had landed
    • “The Flying Tomato had landed”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Nov 14, 1975
    • isarchived.com
  • 1975 September 19

    Lincoln & Nevada: Pick-up or lightning Delivery
    What is The Flying Tomato?
    • “What is The Flying Tomato?”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Sep 19, 1975
    • isarchived.com
  • 1974 April 5

    In Urbana: Garcia’s on Lincoln (Lincoln & Nevada) 344-1212 Call Here For Delivery
    Whole Wheat Crust! Is Nutritious!!
    • “Whole Wheat Crust! Is Nutritious!!”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Apr 5, 1974
    • isarchived.com
  • 1974 February 9

    Garcia’s on Lincoln
    Heart-Shaped Pizza in a Pan
    • “Heart-Shaped Pizza in a Pan”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Feb 9, 1974
    • isarchived.com
  • 1974 January 26

    On Thursday, one week after the Lincoln Avenue Garcia’s opened, the City of Urbana issued a court order closing it.
    Urbana pans Garcia’s
    • “Urbana pans Garcia’s”
    • The Daily Illini
    • Jan 26, 1974
    • isarchived.com

Recent Closures

Closed, But Not Forgotten