On September 2, Houston happily welcomed Pi Pizza to the neighborhood.
“Houstonians, rejoice!” wrote Eater, an online food publication. “Pi Pizza, the highly anticipated culinary collaboration between restaurateur Lee Ellis and chef Anthony Calleo will officially open its doors for service…”
Well, Houstonians are no longer rejoicing. In fact, they seem rather angry.
Over the weekend, local Kyle Kelly, who originally intended to try the new pizza joint, posted a review on Pi Pizza HTX’s Facebook page.
“Was excited to try this place, then I saw that they ban legal concealed carry of handguns. Any business that removes my right to defend myself is a business that doesn’t want my money.”
Pi Pizza then responded to the review in what’s clearly a professional manner.
“Hey Kyle, FO. You are correct, we do not want your money.”
Others quickly joined in on the conversation.
By the weekend’s end, the restaurant received over 600 new negative reviews. In response, Pi Pizza completely shut down its Facebook review section. And now its Yelp page is warning reviewers that their posts may be taken down if they seem to be influenced by what’s going on in the news.
While the original review was removed from Pi Pizza HTX’s account, a screenshot of the exchange was posted on Texas3006.com’s Facebook page, with the following comment:
In spite of Pi Pizza’s best efforts, it looks like Kelly’s—and others’— negative reviews aren’t just going to disappear.
Lee Ellis, co-owner of Pi Pizza and composer of the classy comment, told CultureMap that the review got him “worked up” because it wasn’t a real review. “The guy came by, saw the sign and wasn’t going to come in and give us money, because he couldn’t protect his family. It was all about the sign. It wasn’t about the pizza. It wasn’t about the service. It was not a legitimate review. Basically, I went in and called him out and said ‘FO.’”
But Kelly’s post was a real review. It was review of the business’ practices and rules—rules, that, as Kelly excellently pointed out, a decent portion of the state’s population does not agree with.
“Your restaurant is now in a database of Houston businesses that don’t allow concealed carry,” wrote Kelly. “There are 973,000 people in Texas with concealed carry licenses, you won’t be getting their money either.”
Kelly finished by saying, “For the safety of your patrons you should consider that criminals don’t care about those gun signs.” This is something that has been proven time and time again.
Despite the controversy and Kelly’s comments, it’s doubtful that Pi Pizza will change its gun policy. Unfortunately for them, that may mean serving as many customers as they allow guns—none.