Not every pizzeria operator has been able to put the pandemic behind them. Case in point: Deco Pizzeria in San Antonio, where the business-killing effects of COVID-19—not to mention this past summer’s blazing-hot temperatures—continue to present challenges.

Owner Jacob Valenzuela announced on Facebook last week that the restaurant’s fate now hangs in the balance, and only the local community can save it.

“Since Covid, our struggles remain the same: staffing shortages/challenges, increases in food cost and increases in overhead expenses,” Valenzuela wrote. “We continue to be optimistic, but the reality is that every day is a struggle.”

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He added that “the extreme heat during summer added to the already daily struggles. As you know, we depend on our patio and live music to help generate revenue. With the cold and wet weather approaching, I am not certain how much longer we can keep our doors open.”

Valenzuela opened the first Deco Pizzeria location on Fredricksburg Road in 2011 and expanded to a second location on Babcock Road in 2018. More recently, the company launched a delivery/carryout store in New Braunfels, Texas.

According to the Grand Rapids Chair Co. blog, Valenzuela hired interior designer Lisa Bakke to transform what was once a gas station—now located in a strip-mall setting on Fredericksburg Road—into a visually arresting venue with design elements “that marry Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles together.”

“Once inside,” blogger Dean Jeffrey wrote, “there is no shortage of ‘wow’ moments to take in, from the custom-designed and handmade Redondo tiles that flank the bar to the 7’ custom shelving unit and even the lilac-esque wall color. It is truly an immersive experience.”

Valenzuela takes guests on an extraordinary culinary adventure as well. One of Deco Pizzeria’s best-known menu items is a barbacoa pizza, officially called the San Anto. It has a base of refried beans topped with barbacoa—a type of slow-cooked beef with Mexican and Caribbean origins—plus mozzarella, fresh avocado and pico de gallo. The restaurant has also earned acclaim for its one-of-a-kind Bianco Pizza, a breakfast pizza boasting chorizo, bacon, potatoes and an over-easy egg.

But the problems just keep coming. In January 2021, Deco Pizzeria’s Babcock Road operation was burglarized, with damage to the patio door and office amounting to an estimated $10,000. And currently, the pizzeria’s website is down thanks to hackers, and, for now, Valenzuela can’t afford to get it running again.

Even so, Deco Pizzeria keeps rebounding from setbacks, and Valenzuela is counting on his customers to keep him in business. “We are trying super-hard, but the reality is real,” he wrote on Facebook. “Please come out and support us! Show me and my staff some love. Several iconic restaurants announced their closures last week. Many of us are not far behind.”