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La Jolla pizza maker feels harassed by derogatory message on car parked in front of business

This vehicle often has been seen parked in front of American Pizza Manufacturing on La Jolla Boulevard.
(Courtesy photo)

The owner of a La Jolla take-and-bake pizzeria says he’s feeling harassed by the presence of a car often parked outside the establishment bearing a disparaging message about its business model. A plane also has been seen flying overhead pulling a banner.

The vehicle, a Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 luxury SUV, is covered with the phrase “Take ‘n’ bake pizza sucks.” The plane’s banner reads “Just say no to take ‘n’ bake pizza.”

For the record:

7:17 a.m. Nov. 1, 2021This article was updated to correct the spelling of Andrew Melone’s last name.

American Pizza Manufacturing, which opened at 7402 La Jolla Blvd. in July 2020, offers pizzas that are assembled in the store and baked at home. Owner Andrew Melone says the negative messages about his business started in October last year.

The messages have spurred a thread on social media, with more than 200 comments.

Some believe the person responsible is La Jolla resident Ace Rogers, who also went by the name AJ Thakore. When reached by the La Jolla Light, Rogers, who owns a digital marketing firm in University City called Doctor Multimedia, denied any involvement.

“It started passively in the beginning,” Melone told the Light, with one person writing a series of disparaging things on social media about American Pizza Manufacturing and Melone.

“It took us a few weeks to get those down,” Melone said. “These were all personal about me and things that aren’t true about our business model. This is being done with impunity because nothing has been done.”

Andrew Melone opened American Pizza Manufacturing in July 2020.
(Courtesy photo)

Soon after, signs with messages such as “Take it baked” that support other area pizzerias started appearing, and someone started parking a car in the 15-minute space that fronts American Pizza Manufacturing, seemingly to block access for customers.

More recently, the vehicle with “Take ‘n’ bake pizza sucks” has been parked near the business.

Melone said he has not filed any reports with the San Diego Police Department and has not taken any legal action. But he said he’s concerned for other businesses in the area that may be targeted.

He said he just wants the message maker “to leave us alone.”

Some social media comments describe altercations with Rogers when he was confronted about the matter. Police were unable to provide additional details about the alleged altercations. ◆