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Magpies on 4th Avenue to close May 18

Two other locations will remain open on North and East side
Posted at 9:27 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 00:27:35-04

Magpies longstanding location on 4th Avenue will close this Saturday, May 18 after more than 30 years.

First opening in 1989, Magpies has long been a staple on 4th Avenue, with its central patio being a perfect place to watch the street fair.

But changes in customer patterns forced the pizza restaurant to make a tough decision.

“Every other customer has a story and says ‘I’ve been coming to you guys for 25 years’," said Jake Roth, Operations Manager at Magpies. "But I think there’s less of a reason to have like a big, giant place like this."

Roth says since the post-pandemic era, customers prefer delivery and takeout over sit-in dining.

Magpies will focus its attention on the restaurant's other two locations on the North side at Orange Grove and Oracle, and the East side at Broadway and Houghton.

"It’s not really like a going out of business thing because we have the other two locations,” Roth said. "But I'll miss the quirkiness of this area."

The closing also comes at a time for change on 4th Avenue, which has seen less foot traffic in recent years, especially north of 6th Street.

Meanwhile, new businesses open frequently on the southern side of 4th Avenue, closer to downtown. There, a five-story student housing complex is also being built.

Roth, who moved to Tucson five years ago, has witnessed the lack of traffic himself.

“I always hear that 4th Avenue, you know, 10 or 15 years ago was the place to be," Roth said. "Since moving here, I feel like people will say that more about the other side of the underpass, by Congress.”

Currently, Magpies is looking for a smaller location downtown to "keep prices competitive" compared with the larger 4th Avenue spot.

According to publicly available real estate transactions, Ah Huevos Mexican Bar and Grill will take over the lease but there’s no timetable for when the restaurant will open.

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Joel Foster is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9 who previously worked as an English teacher in both Boston and the Tucson area. Joel has experience working with web, print and video in the tech, finance, nonprofit and the public sectors. In his off-time, you might catch Joel taking part in Tucson's local comedy scene. Share your story ideas with Joel at joel.foster@kgun9.com, or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.