El Cerrito, CA (10 El Cerrito Plaza)

From Cheese-E-Pedia

The space where the Pizza Time Theater was planned at. (Kirby's Restaurant and El Cerrito Station Bar)

El Cerrito, CA (10 El Cerrito Plaza) was a planned Pizza Time Theater location that was planned to open inside a popular restaurant spot in December 1982, but was ultimately cancelled on June 7, 1983 due to the city council's restrictions on its planned space.

This store is not to be confused with the 20 El Cerrito Plaza location, which ended up being built and opened in 1993, but closed in July 2000.


Store Proposal & Public Backlash

In December 1982, Homart Development Co, the co-owners of two popular neighboring restaurants among local residents, Kirby’s Restaurant and El Cerrito Station Bar, decided to lease quarters of both restaurants to Pizza Time Inc, informing the restaurant's owner, David Viale, about the lease signing. News about the decision wouldn't be announced until March 13th, 1983, when the announcement was made public about both restaurants closing due to their lease expiring on July 31,[1] and that a Chuck E. Cheese’s had been proposed to move into the restaurant's existing spot after its lease expires, planning to house at least 10,800 square feet of space. This sparked backlash among Viale, El Cerrito Plaza merchants, and customers of both restaurants, with some labeling the Pizza Time Theater as "being a hangout spot for drug dealers among juveniles" and various criminal activities among teenagers, with up to 6,000 people signing petitions to oppose the Pizza Time Theater's proposal. One resident would notably hang a plush of Chuck E. with a noose 50 feet up a flagpole outside the El Cerrito City Hall on May 23rd.

Viale would fight back with the City Council for both restaurant's leases.

"I’m willing to sit down with Homart and renegotiate a new lease, I think there are better locations in the city for Chuck E. Cheese. But Homart would have to let them off the hook on the lease." - David Viale [2]

Permit Restrictions

Despite public backlash about the store's proposal, Pizza Time Theater Inc. would be approved for an operation permit by the Planning Commission on April 6th, 1983. However, the commission put in restrictions on the space, notably with allowing only one game per 50 square feet instead of the usual 21 square feet, and reducing store hours to close at 9 p.m. on weekdays (usually 11 p.m) and 8 p.m. on the weekend (usually midnight).[3] Pizza Time Theater Inc. opposed the restrictions as they thought the restrictions would hurt profit on the store, requesting the City Council to modify or remove some restrictions. A new council meeting would then be scheduled for June 6th, 1983 on the City Council's decision on the permit, whether to approve it with restrictions, without restrictions, or reject the permit application.


During the June 6th meeting, the City Council decided to issue Pizza Time Theater Inc. the permits with the restrictions. The decision sparked tons of 'boos' from protestors at the meeting who opposed the planned store. Since Pizza Time Theater Inc. was already opposing the plaza's restrictions, they would eventually announce the next day that the store would be withdrawn from the plaza on June 7th, 1983,[4] eventually leaving Viale to sign an addition lease with Homart for his restaurants. The CEC would end up being constructed at a different space of the plaza a decade later.