Tricycle Pizza surprised local foodies with yesterday’s announcement that its New Monterey location will be shuttering next week. But the wood-fired oven isn’t out just yet: Next month, the popular pizza purveyor will return reimagined as a delivery-only concept.
The lease for Tricycle’s location at the intersection of Lighthouse and David is up this month and owner Danica Alvarado has chosen not to renew. The decision may be perplexing for some considering business here has been booming with long lines of customers queued up for the truck’s famous wood-fired pizza. But Alvarado’s decision comes as she and her family have the chance to pursue further growth of the business.
“We’re a small family business and we can only focus our time and attention on certain things. We’ve come to a crossroads: Do we continue here or do we focus on the growth of the business? We decided it’s time to jump on something new,” says Alvarado. “It’s an interesting feeling. I’m super excited about something new coming, but that means we have to let go of something that’s working—to let go of something that’s profitable and working so well—to pursue an opportunity that should be even bigger. There’s some sadness to that, but I’m ready and I’m fortunate that I have my family with me.”
Alvarado won’t share plans for Tricycle’s next steps just yet—“We’re working on some new and innovative things” is all she’ll say for now—but in the meantime, she is planning a unique new direction for Tricycle.
Next month, Tricycle Pizza will turn into a virtual restaurant: There won’t be a physical presence or address, but diners will be able to order the signature wood-fired pizzas for delivery via UberEats and GrubHub.
The delivery-only model has become increasingly common in large cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, but thus far hasn’t launched on the Monterey Peninsula. The move to a delivery concept follows Alvarado’s vision for unique models, much like her pioneering food truck and the unique combination of truck and physical restaurant in New Monterey. “My desire has always been to create some of the tastiest pizza people have ever had. We’ll still be able to provide that, but now we’ll be able to serve people beyond this one location, beyond 899 Lighthouse Avenue,” she explains.
And look for Tricycle Pizza at local community events too. Alvarado hopes the new delivery model will provide the flexibility to support events and festivals.
Alvarado admits she’ll miss the face-to-face interactions with diners. She recalls the regulars that stop by every week and seeing families grow over the years, “We have so many regulars who we see once, twice a week. We’ve gotten close to them,” she says. “It’s very exciting to step into a new phase of the business, but still sad to know we won’t be seeing so many of our loyal customers who have become friends over the years.”
Over the years, Tricycle Pizza has cultivated a fervent following. The mobile wood-fired pizza concept debuted in 2012 and soon became a fixture at local farmers markets, with Alvarado hauling a wood-fired oven on a three-wheeled trailer that ultimately lent the business its name. In 2016, Tricycle’s operations got a serious upgrade: First was a truck with an integrated oven, then Alvarado and family converted an old tire shop at the intersection of Lighthouse and David Avenues into a permanent parking spot for the truck.
Tricycle consistently lands on lists of locals’ favorites. “I’m thankful for all the support,” says Alvarado. “A lot of people have many options to eat at fancier places with heating and a nicer setting. This location is something we started from scratch. My sisters and I put up fences, painted the walls, put up the lights inside. We did it all from our bootstraps,” she explains. “It’s humble and we took a lot of care to make sure everything is how we want it. I hope people have been able to see the love and care that we’ve put in the place and our pizza. It’s not just about making a profit, but how we make people feel.”
Alvarado is grateful not just to regulars, but city regulators who helped her pioneer a unique business model at the New Monterey location, “I want to thank the City of Monterey who was instrumental when I first started here three years ago. The permit I had was the first of its kind. Without the city’s support, I wouldn’t have been able to do this creative concept of having a combined food truck and restaurant.”
Tricycle Pizza’s last day at its New Monterey location at 899 Lighthouse Avenue will be Saturday, April 27. Business hours will remain the same until then: 3pm-8pm Wednesday-Friday and noon-8pm Saturday. Find Tricycle Pizza on Facebook or follow @TricyclePizza on Instagram for details on the upcoming launch of delivery service and updates on future projects.