Point Pizza protesters confront shopping center rep

Protesters J. Flora Katz (right) and Kim McGee (left) question Point Dume Village property manager about the closures of Savory and Point Pizza restaurants. 

A third rally protesting the impending closure of Point Pizza Restaurant drew about 30 protesters Friday evening, and a dramatic showdown ensued when protesters confronted the Point Dume Plaza property manager with complaints that shopping center owner Zan Marquis was bullying tenants and ignoring the community’s wishes. 

Point Pizza recently lost its lease when it failed to agree to terms on a lease renewal with Marquis. On Wednesday, the owner of next-door Savory Restaurant announced the restaurant would also be closing following a “long and hard battle” with Marquis. 

A back-and-forth between Marquis and Savory’s owner, Paul Shoemaker, has continued in the ensuing days in local media, with the tone turning increasingly ugly. 

On Friday, residents who showed up to the protest weighed in with harsh words about Marquis. 

“This is just really unfair,” said Linda Gibbs, who called Savory her favorite restaurant and who said Point Pizza owner Hyesong Oh was a community institution. “It’s just a nasty business.”

Last month, after it was confirmed Point Pizza would not be returning, Marquis said its space would be filled by a second, organic iteration of D’Amore’s Famous Pizza. Resident Terence McGee said the food was secondary to Point Pizza’s place in the community. 

“[Owner Hyesong Oh]’s the nicest lady. She’s been so good to the people,” McGee said. “People are unhappy. It’s not about the pizza. It’s about a lady being bullied.”

As night fell, a klatch of protesters grown warm with pizza and righteous anger ascended the steps to the second-floor office of Point Dume Village property manager Kathryn Natalia. About a dozen crowded into the office as several security guards looked on. 

Lead protesters J. Flora Katz and Kim McGee said the conflict over Point Pizza and Savory was heavy-handed and could alienate the community.  

“We don’t want to be angry. We want to support the local businesses, but it’s up to you,” protester Kim McGee said. 

“It’s not up to me,” Natalia replied. 

“You do owe a certain amount of responsibility when you buy a property like this. You need to hear us out,” McGee answered.

The Malibu City Council on Tuesday is expected to consider an ordinance that could address such conflicts by requiring large commercial landlords to rent a certain percentage of their space to local community-serving businesses. 

Melissa Caskey contributed to this article.