Owner tries to honor father with Pizza Inn upgrade
By Matt Caulder
Published in News on November 17, 2013 1:50 AM
More than 40 years after her father opened the doors to his first Pizza Inn on Norwood Avenue, Jill Nielson opened those same doors Thursday for a grand re-opening following a major renovation to the inside of the restaurant.
"We completely gutted the interior and modernized it," Mrs. Nielson said. "We had a front porch and every booth in here was an antique. That buffet is brand new."
In addition to modernizing the restaurant, she has added 45 seats as well as expanded the buffet area.
While much of the memorabilia is off the walls, Mrs. Nielson has hung pictures of the 3-D decorations to remind people that it is still their Pizza Inn.
"People remember all of the Mickey Mouse stuff and that's going to stay up in the party room," she said. "And we have a little red wagon left that my father gave me when I was a kid. The wagon is definitely staying."
Mrs. Nielson bought out her father's partners in January and took over the restaurant herself.
She set up a plaque dedicating the restaurant to her father, H.M. Poythress, who passed away in February of 2011.
"With his passing I decided to buy this one and run it," she said. "This is where I grew up. It was a difficult time for the family and I knew this was where I wanted to go."
All through out the renovation, maintaining her father's legacy has been in the forefront of her brain.
"I thought it was time for an upgrade. It needed to be modernized but I wanted it to have the same feeling."
Mrs. Nielson also wanted to make sure that people realize that Pizza Inn isn't just a buffet place, it is a full restaurant.
"I people to come here and sit down and talk and order their food, we do have an order menu," she said. "I plan on offering North Carolina beers and we have wines."