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Joe’s Pizza, a honey-drizzled Westport tradition, closes after 24 years

 Joe Addington announced his retirement Monday, shuttering the Westport mainstay Joe's Pizza Buy the Slice.
Kelly's Westport Inn
Joe Addington announced his retirement Monday, shuttering the Westport mainstay Joe's Pizza Buy the Slice.

Joe Addington, the owner of Joe's Buy the Slice Pizza inside Kelly's Westport Inn, announced Monday he was retiring and shuttering the business.

Joe’s Pizza Buy the Slice, a mainstay of Westport for over two decades, served its last slices in the early hours of the morning Sunday.

Joe Addington had operated Joe’s Pizza from the back of Kelly’s Westport Inn for 24 years. On Monday, Addington announced he was retiring to spend time with his hobbies and grandchildren.

Colleen Kelly, the co-owner of Kelly’s Westport Inn, says Joe’s provided a perfect fit for her tavern, catering to customers seeking a quick lunch or a midnight snack.

“It’s the end of an era, is kind of how I feel about it right now,” she says. “It’s kind of hard to imagine Joe’s Pizza not being back there. It’s been 24 years, so most of my life, he’s been back there.”

Joe’s Pizza first opened in 1997, and became known in part for the honey it offered for pouring over crusts. Kelly says that having an independent restaurant inside her bar was a huge benefit.

“For a lot of our customers, they don’t even know it’s not us,” she says. “That it’s a separate business. So, we kind of go hand-in-hand.”

110121_cm_JoesPizza
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3
Pedestrians walk past Joe's Buy the Slice Pizza on Monday afternoon. Addington announced Monday he was retiring and closing the restaurant.

Kelly’s says a new tenant will fill the shop’s space, and will include a pizza based on one of Joe’s recipes. But they have yet to release more details about that replacement.

Nearby patrons say that Joe’s lunch specials and midnight food will be missed.

“It’s one of the go-to places where you come down and get a bite to eat,” says DeAndre Wiseman, who was visiting a friend at a nearby office building.

Wiseman says he’s been eating at Joe’s for 20 years, and was a fan of the honey-drizzled crusts.

“This is one of those places where you know you can actually come and send someone to Kansas City and tell them, ‘This is something unique,’” Wiseman says.

Further down the street at Char Bar, hostess and hourly manager Michelle Stuerke says that Joe’s Pizza was a favorite for finding food after work. She ate there as recently as Saturday, and was surprised by its sudden closure.

“I had no idea those would be my last slices at Joe’s,” Stuerke said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to a nearby office building using the name of its former occupant, the Tivoli Cinemas. It has been corrected.

As KCUR’s general assignment reporter and visual journalist, I bring our audience inside the daily stories that matter most to the people of the Kansas City metro, showing how and why events affect residents. Through my photography, I seek to ensure our diverse community sees itself represented in our coverage. Email me at carlos@kcur.org.
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