Visalia pizzeria faces closure, calls on community support

5 Star Pizza asks for community support to keep from closing.(Kenny Goodman)

As the family-owned 5 Star Pizza encounters the threat of closing its doors at the end of October, locals have an opportunity to offer a slice of support at keeping the restaurant’s doors open

VISALIA – A local Visalia pizzeria, whose owners strive to help and support their community, may have to close its doors at the end of the month. While the owners prefer to provide help and not ask for it, they hope the community will stop by and grab themselves a pizza before it’s too late.

Maria Martinez and her husband opened their restaurant, 5 Star Pizza, nearly four years ago and have tried their best to assist their community during that time; whether it’s serving their customers, feeding the homeless or even making sure that everybody has something to eat for the holidays.

“Our business does so much for people, we (try to) help a lot of people out,” Martinez said. “I want to make sure that every customer leaves happy with their pizza.”

After working for several years at businesses like Little Caesars and Dominos, Martinez and her husband decided to open up a pizzeria of their own. While the COVID-19 pandemic hit them hard, they said their strong spirits and hearty work ethic have helped them persevere throughout the years. 

“When COVID hit, it affected a lot of families, not just businesses,” Martinez said. “Some people stayed without a job (and) some people stayed without homes, (so) we try to put out specials for them, because if they have multiple family members, we want them to afford it; so they can feed their whole family.”

Not only do they try to offer good deals, the couple also loves to make custom pizzas that can’t be found anywhere else. One such example is their still popular Cinco De Mayo “New Mexican” pizza, which features toppings and flavors indicative of hispanic culture.

“Our pizzas are different because we (like to) make our own creations and share it with our customers,” Martinez said. “The ‘New Mexican’ was a big hit for people because we make everything fresh, including our meat.”

Their current “Halloween special” deal is four large pizzas for $65.99, which came about after Martinez’s husband noticed that there were “a lot of warehouses and companies in the area that could benefit from the special;” whether that be for a spooky-time season celebration, or even a simple “pick-me-up” after a hard day’s work.

While Martinez doesn’t like to ask for help, and instead prefers to work hard for the business she loves, she hopes members of the community will head out and support 5 Star Pizza, which can be done by simply ordering a pizza.

“I would love for them to come and support us by making a purchase and trying our pizza,” she said. “Doing that would help us more than enough. If we got enough people in here and they bought some pizzas, we’d be able to stay afloat.”

Support for the restaurant can also be shown by donating to their GoFundMe page, which was created by Martinez’s friend, who urged the business owner to ask for help despite her selfless nature. While Martinez asked for the details of their potential closure to remain off the record, she mentioned that they likely only have until the end of the month to get the funds they need.

The restaurant is located at 4111 W. Noble Ave., and its GoFundMe can be found on the restaurant’s official instagram @5_star_pizza_visalia.

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