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Above, Valentino’s Pizza co-owner Cody Taylor poses for a photo outside of the San Marcos staple, which is set to reopen in the near future. The pizza joint is located on San Marcos Square. Daily Record photo by Nick Castillo

San Marcos staple Valentino’s inching closer to reopening

Saturday, May 28, 2022

The long wait is almost over.

An iconic San Marcos restaurant — in business almost 40 year before closing its doors in late 2018 — is hoping to grab a “pizza of your heart” when it reopens in just weeks.

Valentino’s Pizza, located in the historic downtown square in San Marcos, is nearing its renovation completion.

“We should be applying for our certificates of occupancy by the end of this month,” said an excited co-owner, Cody Taylor. “Ideally, we’ll get a week, maybe two, to get acclimated, before our official grand opening.”

The journey of renovating a building, especially one more than a century old, has been educational, Taylor said.

“There are many boards and commissions to deal with each having their own checklists and requirements … it adds up,” he said. “I took on the permit process myself and learned a great deal, but it was hard. After all, there’s not a list telling you what you need or how to begin. You just whittle through it.”

Taylor said, as one might predict, there were surprises during the renovation process, the first coming when they discovered the kitchen floor needed to be totally replaced. If that wasn’t enough, there was a wall not correctly represented in the architectural plans — it was off by two feet.

“So, a detail like that ended up having us change the ADA requirements for the bathrooms,” Taylor said. “It took weeks to figure out how we were going to do that.”

He said they also had to raise the elevation of the bar to get things to drain properly, by as much as six inches.

“Those were just some of the things we had no idea we were going to have to deal with when we began,” Taylor said. “Once you start figuring those things out you realize a week has gone by, or a month, then suddenly you’re behind on your anticipated opening.”

Taylor said it’s frustrating but rewarding at the same time because he’s learned a great deal during the process.

“It’s definitely the school of hard knocks,” he added. “Over the last four year, I’m on my third building construction.”

As they get closer to opening Taylor said it’s a little “nerve wracking” knowing the history behind such a beloved institution as Valentino’s.

“If you take our restaurant Industry, nobody knew what to expect when we opened our doors,” Taylor said. “When we open Valentino’s doors everybody has expectations, and the pressure is on.”

Taylor said what they’ve also learned is there’s four different iterations of Valentino’s because there were four different owners.

“I’m nervous because we get one shot to reopen,” Taylor said. “I want the local community, more than anyone else, to fall in love with it again.”

He said it’s rewarding to know this community is so ready for them to open. Taylor said the feedback from the community has been amazing, adding that “of all the restaurants I’ve done, this is by far the most important for me.”

“You don’t always get that in a restaurant. When you open a new restaurant, you hope people love it; they already love this place, so we’ve got to make sure to get this right,” Taylor added. “The stage is already set for us to be successful, it’s up to us to hold up our end of the bargain. The community is ready for it — that’s the most exciting part.”

Taylor said the kitchen will be wide open and patrons can sit and watch their pizza being made.

“This is going to be another reason to bring your families and explore downtown,” Taylor said. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to an already vibrant scene.”

The restaurant will be serving New York and Sicilian style pizzas and offering around six beers on tap.

Taylor said their hours are still being determined but the restaurant will open seven days a week beginning at 11 a.m. with closing coming some nights at midnight and others at 2-3 a.m.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666