The Evolution of Pizza
The story began in the late 80’s. With the seedling of a dream to be an entrepreneur, Paul (PJ) took a stab at owning and running a business, enter Pit Stop Pizza. Pit Stop Pizza didn’t quite make it off the ground, but that didn’t dissuade PJ from pressing forward.
After managing a busy Domino’s location and training in the Domino’s Franchisee school, the next adventure presented itself. PJ and a partner, known as Pizza Boys Inc., joined together to take over an up and running pizza and pub. Pizza Kings on Merriam Lane became PJ’s life and the fulfillment of a dream. A year later, the partnership dissolved, and Pizza Kings became a one man show. Pizza Kings enjoyed 11 years of business and had numerous regulars, the Pizza Kings family. Popular on the menu, in addition to draft beer, were PJ’s creation of Pizza Sticks, a delicious marriage of pizza toppings and dipping sticks. Pizza King's customers enjoyed pool tables, poker nights, and karaoke.
Believe it or not, Match.com initiated the next adventure in the life of the Pizza King. With a wave and a perky smile, we were introduced. My outspoken and outgoing personality and PJ’s down to earth, quiet but wise demeanor, is a great match and the pizza dream continued to evolve. Together, as a newly formed family, we continued in the pizza evolution with the birth of Westwood Pizza. This would be a colorful and family friendly environment located off 47th Street in northern Johnson County, near the booming Joe’s Kansas City BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ).
Nothing hurts like a market crash, and the 2008 Bubble Burst, placed a young pizza restaurant on the chopping block of life. The market crash, along with other factors, turned Westwood Pizza into a victim of the Next Great Depression. She closed her doors as Westwood Pizza a final time in November 2008.
With loss, comes wisdom, and this story is no different. Seeing his hard work and hopes for a future in the pizza restaurant world crash, it was a hard pill for PJ to swallow. But soon, it became the catalyst for new ideas, skill building in the restaurant world and an appreciation for the real rewards of life, family. For the next 10 years, PJ enjoyed the spirit of owning a business by being a general manager of a successful, local pizza restaurant without the financial risk. He was once heard saying, “It’s nice to run a business, get a paycheck and not have to spend my money to build it.” Wisdom at its finest.
Lots of changes occurred between the closing of Westwood Pizza and the glimmer of Paulie D’s Pizza. Our family grew by two awesome kids looking for a family to call their own. Alex and Elizabeth became official Dorings on December 15th, 2017. We missed out on diapers and baby bottles, but, believe me, the teen years are making up for it!! We have full hearts and a full house with 3 teenagers, 2 cats and a dog that is as old as our relationship.
In addition to adding to our family, there were job changes, buying and selling homes, exploring the deep south during winter (future snow birds in the making). We experienced the loss of a beloved houseboat to a micro burst and the discovery of our own quiet, secluded getaway of 10 acres near our favorite lake. Life is a journey, and these are just a few of the happenings during the pizza restaurant evolution. The entrepreneurial spirit never left PJ. (Ask him about Solar Mow, sometime.)
For PJ, owning just any business, did not bring the challenge and pride that owning and operating his own pizza place does. That spark never disappeared, and it grew in his brain (unbeknownst to me). He’s a big picture, forward thinking man and the idea of owning another pizza restaurant began to slowly and quietly infiltrate our conversations. I did my best to lob conditions and dissuasion, and he wavered at none of them. When we began our search for a great location, we happened upon the perfect place on Johnson Dr. as the evolution continued.
Here we are. Paulie D’s Pizza. There’s some exciting changes for some of you who remember Pizza Kings and Westwood Pizza. Don’t fret! They are delicious changes!
We are excited to be apart of the Mission, Johnson Drive family. It is our greatest hope to become Mission's local pizza spot.