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Sprouts & Shutters: Mama Rosa's Mysterious Closure

Public records show the restaurant was owned by the family of Marino and Nicole Sandoval, the couple who owned the now defunct El Balazo and were convicted of fraud in 2012.

PLEASANTON, Ca:  6770 Santa Rita Road Photo Credit: Autumn Johnson/ Patch
PLEASANTON, Ca: 6770 Santa Rita Road Photo Credit: Autumn Johnson/ Patch

By Autumn Johnson

Mama Rosa's Pizza and Pasta restaurant on 6770 Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton appears to have closed. The windows are dark, the tables and decor have been removed and there is a "closed" sign in the window of the Italian restaurant. Few details are available behind the Italian restaurant's sudden closure. The last post on the Mama Rosa Facebook page was in November and calls and emails to the restaurant have gone unanswered.

Despite the closure, the Mama Rosa's Facebook page and restaurant website are still up.

The 5,502 square foot restaurant at 6770 Santa Rita Road has been listed as available for lease through the Lockehouse Team commercial real estate group since Dec. 10, 2013.

"We are looking for a strong new tenant and have gotten good traction so far," Aaron Dan of Lockehouse said.

Dan was not able to comment as to the reason behind the vacancy and said the property owner also declined to comment, although Dan did confirm the corporation listed as the tenants of the restaurant were the "Sandoval Food Corporation."

Dan wrote, via email:  

"The corporation is/was headed by Marino Sandoval, his wife, and his two children."

According to records found online with the State of California, the Sandoval Food Enterprises, Inc. is listed as the company that had been running the restaurant. Sebastian Sandoval, who is listed as the "Agent for Service of Process," is the son of Marino Sandoval, according to a report in the Contra Costa Times from March of 2010.

A records check with the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder's Office, lists both Sebastian and “Savarine Sandoval” as the owners of Mama Rosa’s since 2009. Nicole Sandoval used the name "Savarine" Nicole Sandoval, along with Sebastian's name, on the California State Alcohol Beverage Control website on an alcohol license they held for the El Balazo restaurant in Pleasanton.

The sudden closure of Mama Rosa's is similar to the infamous El Balazo closures.

On April 27, 2012, Pleasanton Patch reported that Marino, who owned the El Balazo restaurant chain throughout the Bay Area, was sentenced to 41 months in prison time after he and his wife, Nicole Sandoval, pled guilty to charges relating to undocumented immigrants, using fake social security numbers and under reporting on taxes. Nicole was sentenced to five years probation and 12 months of community confinement. Both were ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

[Related article: El Balazo Owners Sentenced for Fraud, Employing Undocumented Workers]

Attempts to reach the Sandoval family for comment about the Mama Rosa's closure have been unsuccessful.

Will you miss Mama Rosa's? Tell us your thoughts about the closure in the comments section below.



Becky January 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Timothy, Why do you think they should have ALL their assets seized? I'm sure the IRS is taking what it's owed plus penalties. SAC Capital didn't have all its assets seized after the Fed found insider trading was rampant there.
Deanna Cloonan January 26, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Our family had always enjoyed their pizza EVERY Friday and a lot of Tuesdays for their 1/2 price pizzas. We will miss MaMa Rosas, but our question is "where did their master pizza maker go", because that is where we will be getting our pizzas from.
Linda M January 27, 2014 at 07:18 PM
Since there were at least three or four pizza makers, Deanna Cloonan, it would be difficult to pinpoint who made your pizzas each week. One would have been Sebastian, the owner of record. I don't think he's got another restaurant yet. Another would have been the awesome Francisco. I have no idea where else he works, but I kind of wish I did. I'd like to say "good-bye" to him. He's a good guy. And if you ever ordered a pasta dish or perhaps another entree, Isauro (spelling?) would have prepared that for you. He, too, is a great guy - with a family and responsibilities. They were a good crew to work with and I miss them.
timothy January 27, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Rumor has it all were deported.

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