By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — One of the K Street Mall’s most popular restaurants has closed. Pizza Rock has no more dough.

The owner told CBS13 the restaurant is temporarily closing until the coronavirus is over because the restaurant is losing too much money.

The closure is a symbol of the struggle on the K Street Mall. Jose Carrasco works across the street from Pizza Rock where he is a manager at Empress Tavern.

The staff at Empress Tavern is down to four employees, compared to 30 pre-pandemic. They are trying to stay alive on ‘the K.’

“It’s a very scary thing,” Carrasco said. “We try to really embrace [being on ‘the K’] because we like to think of ourselves as a ‘K street thing.'”

A decade ago, Pizza Rock served as a symbol of Sacramento’s revitalization efforts on K Street. Opening to fanfare, the city approved a $5 million public subsidy for its developers as critics declared the deal yet another dud.

READ: California Pizza Kitchen Files For Bankruptcy

“The history of K street is tremendous subsidy…for a very long time,” Sacramento’s Rob Kerth said in public testimony opposing the redevelopment plan in 2009.

The city of Sacramento spent millions more buying dilapidated buildings all along K Street’s 700 and 800 blocks, even before publicly financing the Golden One Center.

“K Street is something special,” Carrasco said.

Now the COVID-19 crisis is undoing work from years of pricey public-private partnerships. Pizza Rock is serving as a high profile closure and a slice of K Street struggles during this coronavirus.

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