The recent closure of Jimbo’s Pizza and Deli, an establishment owned by Grinnell alumnus Jim Tanzosch ’88, has left a void in the nightlife and stomachs of Grinnell College students.
Tanzosch, nicknamed “Jimbo,” has had a pizza business on and off again since 1988, when he graduated from Grinnell College. Starting out with a $100 loan from a friend, Tanzosch began operations at the back of the now closed Downtown Pub, and has been keeping his pizzeria dream alive and well until recent events stunted business, leading to its failure.
“We used to survive a lot on the college business, that was one of the niches we had,” Tanzosch said. “That niche went away…once the new dining hall opened and the Grill had later hours.”
According to Tanzosch, before the JRC dining hall’s inception, Jimbo’s used to make 30 deliveries a night to campus, but afterwards, they barely reached four or five. In addition to the creation of the dining hall, Tanzosch believes the new restaurants in town and poor economy created too much competition and pressure for his business to handle.
“It’s been a disappointment, but truthfully for the last year it’s been so tough that closing was just sort of a relief,” Tanzosch said. “[I] just kept trying things to do but [I] couldn’t figure out anything.”
For his future plans, Tanzosch plans on continuing with his other job as a mortgage verification specialist in Des Moines, and does not plan on starting another business in town, although he admits it would be fun if they needed a food place in the campus pub.
Gillian Hemme ’10, laments the loss of Jimbo’s pizza, and remembers its unifying capabilities.
“I think fondly back to my first year on Main 2nd and I remember ordering the Wrigley with my roommate,” said Hemme, referring to one of Jimbo’s speciality pizzas. “It was one of the first ways in which we bonded. It makes me really sad to think that I can’t have that experience again, that I can’t order a Wrigley and I won’t be able to enjoy the sheer beauty of Jimbo’s pizza.”