Pizza Please is USC Village’s newest addition

Pizza Please, located between City Tacos and Mobility Hub, stands where the now-closed Rance’s Chicago Pizza once stood. Rance’s closed in September 2019 after failure to pay rent, and the lot had been vacant since. (Anthony Fu | Daily Trojan)

USC Village welcomed Pizza Please to its collection of restaurants Monday. Pizza Please arrives at a time when there are currently no other pizza options at the Village, barring other mobile pizza operations.

Co-owners Corey Printup and Nick Crews said they were excited to open their new business venture. While neither are alumni, Printup said they are somewhat familiar with USC and the surrounding area due to their ownership of Stout Burgers & Beer. The idea for the parlor came after an examination of the available dining options in the area made them think “more contemporary” options were missing.

“We scoured the area and looked at different styles of food available that would resonate with the students here as well as residents that live in the area,” Printup said.

Pizza Please curates a trendy vibe while maintaining a traditional atmosphere, complete with exposed brick, string lights and five flat screen televisions. Things like “speed of service” were large factors in the planning and operation of Pizza Please due to students’ tight deadlines and class schedules, Printup said.

“[We’re] making sure, if you guys got a tight deadline or you gotta get from this class to the next, you don’t wait a long time to grab food,” said Printup. “And that it also tastes good.”

Pizza Please will offer “classic, New York-style pizza,” Crews said, and he believes there’s a need for the classic meals — including pizza, wings, salad, sandwiches, and more — on the campus in a fun environment. Printup and Crews’ experience as restaurateurs gives them the confidence to operate their businesses at the Village.

“What’s unique is [that] we’re restaurateurs that operate multiple locations in eighteen different brands across the country,” Crews said. “We’re bringing the best practices from those different brands to execute one of our newest proprietary brands.”

Brian Wilson, executive director of real estate development and leasing for the University, said the restaurant will have a “soft opening” with limited hours and a limited menu options until full operations start.This soft opening will last about a week. After that, Pizza Please will keep the 11 a.m. opening time, yet will close at 10 p.m., 11 p.m., or even later “depending on the traffic of the crowd,” Printup said. Full operation will also expand Pizza Please’s menu and allow it to change with the feedback and input they receive.

“Pizza Please is committed to using fresh, high quality ingredients and intends to appeal to a wide demographic audience,” Wilson said. “Their menu will adapt to the community they serve, with a menu evolving to suit the tastes of their guests.”

Pizza Please, as described by its owners, is “an approachable place” with the goal for students to hang out and grab a bite after class and stick around. With a retro, 90’s vibe, as Printup said, Pizza Please is a spot “where you can hang, gather and chill.”

Kera McKeon, a senior majoring in writing for screen and television, said the price of a slice – which is $3 – will fill a hole that USC has in terms of food pricing.

“Based off the pricing [Pizza Please] is going to fill a hole that the Village really needed, which is a place that you could eat and genuinely go because you’re like, ‘I’ve got a break in between classes and I need to eat something right now that isn’t going to cost $20 for some artisanal L.A. bullshit,’” McKeon said.

McKeon also compared the mobile Stellar Pizza and the Campus Center’s Slice Shop, neither of which she said she recommends.

“[Stellar Pizza] is $7 for a whole pizza,” McKeon said. “That was $7 for a reason. It tasted like the ingredients combined technically would have made a pizza, but what we were eating did not taste like pizza. I was not a fan of that. Slice in the Campus Center is just way too expensive.”

The new establishment is located between City Tacos and Mobility Hub. This places the shop in the footprint of the now-closed Rance’s Chicago Pizza, which closed in September 2019 after failure to pay rent.

This previous tenant left amid legal proceedings about the restaurant’s lack of ability to accept dining dollars and USC’s alleged lack of communication about the Village Dining Hall. The co-owner of now-closed Rance’s Chicago Pizza – Aaron Tofani, who is also a Price School of Public Policy alum – said in an interview with the Daily Trojan September 2019 that Rance’s “had no choice but to close.”

“[We’re] looking forward to being part of the USC community,” Printup and Crews said. “We’re open to feedback and input and want to be welcomed with open arms.”