The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 19, 2013

Wally Kennedy: King Pizza returning to Joplin?

JOPLIN, Mo. — Last week, I admitted to wishful thinking in that I hoped that someday we would once again have a signature pizza place in the tradition of Pizza By Stout.

Well, let this be a lesson for you out there who don’t believe in wishful thinking: Pizza By Stout is not coming back, but something close to it is in the works.

To understand what is happening here, you have to know something about the history of Pizza By Stout. The restaurant started out as King Pizza decades ago in a small shopping center near 20th Street and New Hampshire Avenue. For the most part, the recipes were from a King Pizza restaurant that was operated by the Sherwood family in Fayetteville, Ark.

Eventually, King Pizza became Pizza By Stout and the business was moved to 2101 S. Range Line Road. The tornado leveled Pizza By Stout. Fortunately, the restaurant was not open that Sunday night. Had it been, it would have been filled with families who shortly before had watched their sons and daughters pick up their diplomas from Joplin High School. Had it been open, there is no question the death toll that day would have been much higher.

King Pizza was started in the 1970s. It soon became a Fayetteville tradition. The Sherwoods sold the franchise in the 1980s. It returned to Fayetteville 20 years later when Jeff Sherwood, son of the founder, his wife, Regina, and their two sons created their own version of the restaurant. It’s now called Ye Olde King Pizza. They use the exact same family recipes that the popular King Pizza chain used. The new version has met with success. Local reviews of the restaurant give it consistently high marks. We’re talking five out of five stars.

A Joplin couple are in negotiations with the Sherwood family to buy the rights to the recipes for a restaurant they plan to open in April or May. A storefront on East 32nd Street is being eyed for the location.

The question, I guess, is what should I wish for now. Maybe an organic food store on South Main Street. Doubt I’ll be writing about that next week, but you never know.

Change of ownership

Cycle Connection Harley-Davidson, owned by Scott and Nancy Hutson, soon will become Hideout Harley-Davidson. The business, which has existed in Joplin for 42 years, is being sold to an undisclosed buyer.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

The Hutsons expanded the business in 1998, relocating to a new building at 50th Street and Hearnes Boulevard. That building is now 40,000 square feet. The property is a stone’s throw away from the construction site for the new Mercy Hospital Joplin.

Said Nancy Hutson: “After the tornado, we were reminded of how many needs are walking past us each day and we had become so blinded by our day-to-day business. We began to ask God what we could do for him and not what could he do for us. It was at that time we felt there was something more we should be doing, and we look forward to what that next chapter holds.’’

We should wish them well in whatever direction their new venture takes them. The Hutsons have done a lot for Joplin.

Uncertain future

It is not clear yet what will happen to the building that housed Solace Church in the 1600 block of South Main Street. The building was damaged by a fire that destroyed Bucklin’s Furniture and another building that recently had been the home of a billiards hall.

The owner of the Solace Church building said he has settled with his insurance company. He said he has not decided whether to repair the damage or demolish the building.

Solace Church, which advocates ministry through music, has relocated to God’s Resort at 15th Street and Pearl Avenue. Pastor Josh Evans said services are being held there at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

The cause of the fire has been classified as undetermined.

For the birds

There’s a tornado-damaged tree along East 20th Street, east of Indiana Avenue, that sports more than a dozen birdhouses and bird feeders. Someone has painted colorful rings around the trunk of the tree. You can’t miss it.

I would like to talk to whomever is responsible for this spontaneous art/wildlife project. Someone I know with some bird seed would like to make a donation.

Finally

I turned 60 on Friday. Some “thoughtful’’ friends surprised me in the office with a birthday cake with black roses on it and a walker that has a horn and a rear-view mirror on it.

They expect me to keep watching Range Line and Main Street when I no longer am able to drive. The nerve. Why is it that normally kind and decent people become mean and heartless when someone has a birthday?

But I really do like the pink basket, the cup holder and streamers on my walker. At least I’ll be doing it in style.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

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