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Za's Brick Oven Pizza, 120 Sparkleberry Crossing (Sparkleberry Lane at Clemson Road): 2006   10 comments

Posted at 1:17 pm in Uncategorized

UPDATE: Commenter Mike has credible, event-tied memories that place the closing no earlier than 2006, not the 2003/2004 I mention below. I've updated the post title to say 2006.

The original Za's in Shandon is a nice place. It has an improbably attractive waitstaff, which is also very attentive: a rare and prized combination. The pizza is also quite good. They have had calamata olives for years when it was very rare to find them on menus, and the sauce is quite tasty as well. As a glutton for pizza, I can quibble that their pizzas at 8" are a bit small, but that's minor. With the closing of The Parthenon, Za's is definitely in the running for Best Pizza in Columbia though I consider that that category has no clear winner at present.

I also like that they are a restaurant that is serious about staying open for their posted hours. You can get full cheerful service if you walk in 20 min before closing, and besides that, they are one of the few nice places in town which stays open until 11pm on Thursday night.

Considering all that, I was very interested when Za's opened a second store on Clemson Road (at Sparkleberry). If I was out and about on the Interstate, it promised to be much easier to drop by there than wend my way into Shandon. In the event, I believe I made it there two or three times. The food seemed about as good as the original location, but I thought the wait-staff was both a mite less attractive and a mite less attentive. The first is nice, but not really important. The second is.

The last time I tried to go was for lunch on a Mother's Day. I'm not really sure what year it was, I'm gonna say 2003, but it could have been 2004. At any rate, there was a sign on the door saying "Closed for Mother's Day", which struck me as extremely odd, since Mother's Day is a big deal for most restaurants. Since they were closed and shuttered the next time I went by, I concluded that the sign was a bit disingenuous as such signs often are (for instance Bruster's and Coldstone's).

I don't know exactly why things didn't work out for them, but that particular plaza on Clemson has seen a number of high profile businesses come and go. Perhaps the traffic they anticipated would pass by on the way to the Village at Sandhills has not been quite to expectations.

Oh well. At any rate, the original Za's still seems to be going strong so I can still get my late-night fix on Thursdays. Not sure if they have "Martini Monday" or "Wine Wednesday" though.

UPDATE 21 April 2010: Added full street address to post title.

Written by ted on June 16th, 2008

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10 Responses to 'Za's Brick Oven Pizza, 120 Sparkleberry Crossing (Sparkleberry Lane at Clemson Road): 2006'

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  1. Love your site. Za's had good food at this location, but bad service. I once waited 40 minutes for my food at lunch one time. That's probably why they closed. The Sandhills closings is curious too. I think that a lot of the stores/restaurants are being mismanaged.


    18 Jun 08 at 6:17 pm

  2. The same thing happened to the za's in Irmo. One day it was gone. The service was horrible. I heard the rent was too high so they closed.

    Mr Bill

    26 Jun 08 at 3:53 pm

  3. I'll ditto the comments on the service at the Clemson Rd location of Za's. The first time I went , it took 30-40 minutes to get my food (a salad) and when it finally arrived, it wasn't even what I ordered. I still went back again, thinking it was just a fluke, but it wasn't. I'm sticking with the Devine St location!


    26 Jun 08 at 7:32 pm

  4. Hmmmmm, my partner and I moved from Atlanta to an apartment on Smallwood in July, 2006, and this location of Za's was still open at that time. We are there sometime around Labor Day, 2006, but the service was as slow and execrable as everyone else has stated.


    1 Jul 08 at 10:19 pm

  5. Hmm. OK, I've found out several times running this site that my memory for dates is not the greatest! I'll change the close date from 2003 to 2006.


    1 Jul 08 at 11:26 pm

  6. They had one out at Harbison, where Columbiana Grande Theaters are, and it closed as well. I went in there to get a pint one time, and they told me that they did not have beers on tap (like they do/did on Devine.) I told them I probably wouldn't come back in there until they did, and they closed. I'm sticking w/ that reason.


    3 Jul 08 at 11:13 am

  7. My daughter worked at the Shandon store all through college. She made REALLY good money, too. Owner/managers are/were always around, but I remember hearing they hired managers for the two other stores. When it's not your money on the line, the passion or motivation is not the same.


    16 Jul 08 at 11:37 am

  8. This location definitely closed after 2006. I moved to Columbia that year, and I know that I ate at the Clemson Rd Za's either in December 2006 or January 2007. I'm pretty sure it closed shortly thereafter.

    I have always had great service at the Devine St location, and have enjoyed eating there every time.


    21 Jan 10 at 2:01 pm

  9. We live near here, and after enjoying every visit to the Devine St. location, including seeing some friends' band play live there, was very happy to see them open. The decor was very well done, the pizza was almost as good as Devine St. and, as mentioned, the service was kind of lacking. What I really looked forward to was that they had delivery service. What I found most off-putting was that the delivery service was pretty half-assed. I seem to recall multiple times when they couldn't convince their driver to come in, etc. etc. I wasn't surprised, but still disappointed, when they went down. Went to the Mint Julep, which moved in there, once for my wife's birthday, and we can get back to them when they eventually go out of business...


    26 Aug 11 at 4:55 pm

  10. For at least 3 years it has been owned and operated as Julep's Bistro. The current owners bought what was Mint Julep (which creates some confusion because the "mint" signage remains, but is not part of the current name. They also own a restaurant on Hardscrabble in the old Blue Ginger location (near Beef O'Brady's) called Bricktown Bistro since September 2015.


    29 Mar 16 at 8:36 am

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