Pelion House of Pizza will not be reopening because of staffing concerns
Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – After much thought and deliberation, the decision has been made not to reopen the Pelion House of Pizza. Mo and his wife Sheena say that they have tried to find the help needed to run that location, but all prospects have been exhausted, and their search didn’t turn up anyone who could meet the standards that they wanted for the restaurant in key positions.
In talking with Mo, he explained that he had planned to be closed in Pelion for just a week or two while he went to Red Bank to open his new, larger location. “I love the people and the community of Pelion and I had every intention of returning and running the smaller of the two locations myself,” he said. “We made the move to Red Bank and opened Mo’s House of Pizza thinking that the help was out there, we just had to find it. We advertised for employees in The Lexington Ledger and we got a good response, it was just the key position of executive chef that we couldn’t find the right person to fill.”
Mo said he just wasn’t willing to take a chance on having the quality of the food suffer because he had the wrong person in the kitchen. “I know that I can be hard to work for at times, but my standards are very high for my customers and the food we serve them. I was willing to pay good money for the right person, but I just couldn’t find someone that would do things just as I wanted them done.” Mo went on to explain that his restaurant does a very high-volume and his kitchen is high stress. “We would try people who talked about their credentials and their experience, but when we put them in the kitchen and the pressure was on, they just wouldn’t work out.” He said he had several go out for a break and never come back. “They had a lot to say, but just couldn’t back it up in the kitchen,” he said.
When Mo and his wife opened in Pelion over a year ago, they were well received, and they were happy to be there too. The people enjoyed a place they could find a high-quality, sit down meal in the evenings after work, and the Pelion House of Pizza filled that gap. Area youth sports teams flocked to the business, and everything was going well. “We made a great deal of building upgrades ourselves when we opened in Pelion, but the people of the town genuinely treated us like friends and family. We really thought we could handle both locations and we feel terrible that we had to let Pelion’s store go. It was never our intention to slight the Pelion people or the community.”
Mo’s wife was raised in the Pelion area and they still live in the area. Most of her family is there, and her mother works in the business with she and Mo. She too expressed her sorrow for the way things happened. “I would never do anything to hurt my hometown intentionally,” she said. “It just was a miscalculation that we couldn’t overcome.”
In talking about taking on the much larger store in Red Bank Mo said, “We wanted a bigger occupancy from the beginning, and some time ago, we had been promised first refusal on the building in Red Bank,” Mo said. “When it became available, it was the right move for our family even though it eventually meant we would have to close Pelion, that we didn’t foresee. We sunk a great deal in the opening of Mo’s in Red Bank, and at some point, we reached a place where we just couldn’t turn back!”
Mo says he’s not holding the lease to the Pelion building that still belongs to Bob Hansen as some might think. “The Pelion building is in much better shape than when we started, most of the equipment is in place, and someone could go in there with a little experience and fill that gap. The people of Pelion certainly want something else there to fill that void. It’s just waiting on the right person because we’ve let Bob know not to hold it for us.”
As for the new location, Mo says he’s fully staffed and the kitchen is turning out the same great food he had in Pelion at a fast pace. “We want to continue to provide great food, and exceptional service at a reasonable pace. The thought is that business people should be able to get in, get seated, have a fresh, house-made meal, and get out within the one-hour window or faster. Most diners can enjoy a great meal and be at a price point that’s usually $10 per diner or less.
Now, he’s even open seven days a week and has added Sunday lunch specials like slow cooked pot-roast, gravy over potatoes and rice, and soups for that after church crowd, and still has the pizza, Greek and Middle Eastern fare he was known for. His salad bar is huge, and all the vegetables are cut fresh daily. His meats still come from Shumpert’s IGA in Pelion and are marinated overnight before they are grilled over an open flame. He will soon offer beer and wine by the glass for the adults who want a drink with their meals.
Both Mo and Sheena want the community to know they are sorry for the way things happened, but hope you’ll continue to give them a chance again in Red Bank. Mo’s House of Pizza is located at 1787 South Lake Drive near the US Post Office and the Murphy’s USA gas.