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Antonio’s employees serve up new details on closing

Former+location+of+Antonio%27s+Pizza+on+Green+St.
Former location of Antonio's Pizza on Green St.

Former location of Antonio's Pizza on Green St.

Ryan Fang

Ryan Fang

Former location of Antonio's Pizza on Green St.

Bianca Reyes, Staff writer

This past winter break, Cracked, a breakfast food truck, announced it would be opening its first storefront location in what formerly housed Antonio’s Pizza by the Slice.

The news first broke when Daniel Krause, owner of Cracked, shared a photo on his personal Facebook page announcing his “new restaurant.” However, the news came abruptly to most fans of Antonio’s and even its employees.

Rodrigo Cruz, senior in LAS, has worked at Antonio’s for nearly a year and a half. Cruz said he was disappointed with Yazi Ferhi, the general manager, for not being honest with the staff about the sudden closing.

“The boss for some reason decided not to tell anybody, but he found out in November that they weren’t going to renew the lease,” Cruz said. “I was in Mexico on vacation when I got a text from my coworker telling me the news.”

Cruz said other employees have told him that Ferhi had been promoted and relocated to another Antonio’s locations in Texas.

Olympia Wojcik, junior in LAS, also worked at Antonio’s prior to it closing.

“Two weeks before we left for break, people were coming up to us and saying, ‘Hey, we heard Antonio’s is closing.’ I would look at the other employees and they would just say ‘No no no, we’re fine,’ and then it actually happened,” Wojcik said.

Cruz and Wojcik both said the building manager was asking for higher rent prices and the negotiation between corporate fell through in the end.

Wojcik said she was disappointed to find out she was out of a job through a friend — not even her own boss.

“I feel like (management) had to have known for a while because that guy opening up Cracked didn’t just wake up and see ‘Oh, it’s closing? Let me just buy this business!’ They had to have been planning it weeks before,” Wojcik said.

Wojcik also said a lot of the employees had the job to help pay for their bills and tuition.

“Even now looking for jobs, we all had the same problem,” Wojcik said. “Coming back and trying to apply for a spring semester job was impossible. Everyone around here already hired people for spring because they put in those applications before winter break. So I don’t know, a lot of us were out of a job for at least a month.”

Julia Szumny, junior in Media, said she ate at Antonio’s on a weekly basis. Szumny said she never saw it coming, and is upset that her favorite pizza place on Green Street will be closing. She joked that it was even a deciding factor in her coming to the University.

“It was my first time ever on campus for a visit, and I really wanted something to eat before the long drive home,” Szumny said. “So I saw a pizza place and said ‘Oh let me just grab a slice,’ and I was just in disbelief that I can get a whole meal for under $5, and that’s when I fell in love.”

bireyes2@dailyillini.com

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