KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After more than four decades of serving up Chicago-style pizza near the University of Tennessee, Stefano’s Pizza has closed the doors of its original location ahead of major redevelopments on Cumberland Avenue.
The business posted a thank you to customers on Monday after serving up its last slices over the weekend and encouraged fans to visit their location at 10573 Hardin Valley Road.
There are major redevelopment plans for several blocks of Cumberland Avenue, also known as ‘The Strip, between 19th Avenue and 22nd Avenue. Plans include new apartments, new businesses and a parking garage.
Many business owners described their plans to relocate in interviews earlier this year, while others were disappointed by the changing landscape of The Strip.
“Turning all of these small businesses down to have apartments, that’s making it [the Strip] really completely different,” said Dallas Ogletree, co-owner of streetwear and vintage store Plugged In at 1715 Cumberland Avenue.
Stefano’s Pizza first opened in 1977 at 1937 Cumberland Avenue, making it one of the longest-running businesses on The Strip.
Cumberland Avenue has been transforming over the past several years. The road configuration was drastically changed with a $25 million streetscape project that was completed in 2017, which the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization credits for reducing traffic crashes and stimulating private investment.