by Nancy Stiles
If you're a Mizzou fan, you might want to brace yourself for this news. The iconic white and green Shakespeare's Pizza at the corner of Ninth and Elm Streets in Columbia is going to be demolished. Luckily, Shakespeare's isn't going anywhere, but it's still the victim of the apparent Brookeside-ification of downton CoMO.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Shakespeare's will move to 220 South Eighth Street (it used to be the Tin Can) until the "multistory structure with Shakespeare's as the ground-floor tenant" is finished in summer 2016. The pizza joint opened on Ninth Street in 1973 and is well-known to Mizzou students and alums; there are now three other locations in the college town.
It's not clear exactly what the new building will look like, though the high-rise part will be -- you guessed it -- more apartments. Shakespeare's manager Kurt Mirtsching promised the Tribune that it will look and feel exactly like the old restaurant, which is clearly impossible. The demolition permit was filed Wednesday, and the Historic Preservation Commission has 30 days to review the application, though that apparently does not mean they can halt the demolition, but merely speak to building owner Jack Rader.
Downtown Columbia and the town that surrounds it has seen substantial growth over the past several years, including new apartment complexes (that tend to catch on fire, it seems) and commercial buildings like the one squeezed in a small parking lot across from the School of Journalism just a few steps away from Shakespeare's on Ninth.
Some have lamented the loss of a historic downtown Columbia with character -- much of the district around Eight Street and Broadway was built in 1894 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Those these buildings still stand, of course, but newer, cheaper and sleeker construction projects keep popping up.
If you're tearing up at just the thought of never stepping inside your old pizza haunt ever again, you can send the Tribune photos for a memorial gallery here. The good news is that Shakespeare's new place has a 50-year contract, so the pizza isn't going anywhere.
@gwoNasty No, it's not a joke. New digs, but same furniture, fixtures, equipment, and people. Will you still come see us? Please? THX!— Shakespeare's Pizza (@ShakesPizza) April 2, 2015
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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