Local pizza mogul: Shakespeare's gets ready to come home
COLUMBIA - The iconic Columbia pizza place Shakespeare's gave KOMU 8 News an inside look at its new building on Ninth and Elm Streets downtown as the project enters its final stages. While the building itself is entirely new, it's in the same location as before and has many of the same features customers may remember.
Manager Kurt Mirtsching is very passionate about the sense of nostalgia he said the new restaurant provides its customers
"When people say 'if I could tear it down and start all over these are the things I would change,' and we got to do just that," Mirtsching said.
The new building has the same bricks, tin ceiling, and many of the wooden walls. Mirtsching said no expense was spared in removing each part separately in order to reuse them.
While Mirtsching said Shakespeare's was lucky to find a temporary home next door, he said the new location will be able to provide staff and customers with many more amenities.
"We didn't have to lay anyone off and that was a really important thing to the owners," Mirtsching said. "The average employee in Shakespeare's has been there for over three years - above the average of the rest of the restaurant industry."
The kitchen, which Mirtsching said was a "hot mess," has now expanded in size. The seating areas and the bar have expanded as well.
"We're really glad we get to keep throwing the party on the corner of Ninth and Elm. The box has changed but the party that goes on inside and the people, the customers, the employees, the pizza none of that's going to change," he said.
The lease signed for the new space will last for the next 50 years.
Mirtsching told KOMU 8 News that, while the restaurant has not set a grand opening date yet, customers can expect doors to open sometime in early to mid-August, before MU students return to campus for the fall semester.