Pizza 51 closes in Fairway after 7 years in business

Pizza 51’s owners announced the business had closed on New Year’s Day.

The start of 2019 marks the end of Pizza 51’s run in Fairway.

Owners Shannon and Jason Pryor announced on Tuesday that the have closed their Pizza 51 West operation at 60th and Mission.

The Pryors purchased the long-vacant Sinclair service station building several years ago, and set about renovating it as an expansion location for their original Pizza 51 business, which is housed in an old gas station near the UMKC campus.

The Fairway city council approved a sales tax reimbursement request from the Pryors in January 2011 that provided them with up to $40,000 over five years, funds that Jason Pryor argued at the time would be key to getting the business up and running and established in the neighborhood. Through the arrangement, Pizza 51 took two-thirds of the sales tax generated by the business while one-third went to the city.

Jason Pryor said the business did not receive the maximum reimbursement of $40,000 that had been approved by the city because sales at the location did not generate city sales tax at that level. He noted that the reimbursements he did receive from the city were eaten up by increased property tax on the building after its valuation increased on account of the improvements.

In a message posted on the restaurant’s window on New Year’s Day, the Pryors indicated that they were handing over the location to another business.

“The decision to move on from this location did not come easily but it’s called an offer you can’t refuse for a reason,” they wrote. “We are proud to be handing over the keys to another local entrepreneur and have no doubt the new concept will be embraced by the neighboring community as we were.”

They also thanked the restaurants patrons and city staff for their support over the years.

“We will miss the relationships formed over years with our customers as well as the wonderful relationship we have had with the Fairway City staff,” they wrote.

The Pryors continue to operate the original Pizza 51 at 5060 Oak Street as well as the Milwaukee Delicatessen in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Editor’s note: The original version of this story said that Pizza 51’s arrangement with the city of Fairway provided $40,000 in reimbursements from sales taxes. The deal in fact provided up to $40,000 in reimbursements, but the business did not receive that much.