An advantage of starting over with the building they purchased is that Jim and Kayla Weatherford had an open floor plan to design the interior from scratch, just the way they wanted to.

‘Crazy’ opening leaves new pizzeria short of dough (the bread kind)

Hot Stone Pizzeria is in a reconfigured building at 111 N. Madison St. that was originally built for four businesses.

Jim Weatherford pulls three pizzas from the hot-stone ovens.

After a year of watching the makeover of a strip center on one of Webb City’s busiest corners, eager customers have welcomed Hot Stone Pizzeria way beyond what owners Jim and Kayla Weatherford had expected.

“We had a crazy opening week,” says Kayla. “There were a couple of days we ran out of dough.” She recalls one customer asking, “‘When’s your dough order coming in?’” To which she answered, “We don’t have a dough order! We make everything fresh.”

Hot Stone Pizzeria’s opening day was Tuesday, May 31. Hours listed on the door are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; 11 – 9 Friday and Saturday, and 11 – 5 Sunday. But until they get a walk-in refrigerator to store more dough they’re closing from 2 – 5, except on Sunday. Monday is their day off.

Bringing Northwest pizza to the Midwest

Food and beverage has been Jim’s career since he began washing dishes at age 17 on a yacht in New Jersey. He was in Portland, Ore., area for 15 years.

Kayla, who’s from Oregon, is experienced in restaurant management.

They decided to move here to be closer to Jim’s family in Joplin. Prior to Hot Stone, he was the executive chef at Twin Hills Country Club.

“We are known in the Northwest for our pizza,” says Kayla. “We want to bring our style to Webb City.”

Northwest style is basically a thin, crispy crust with ingredients edge-to-edge.

They say their menu of various pizza combinations, garlic bread and sandwiches is pretty basic. “Simple is better when it comes to food,” says Jim. “We’re just here trying to put out good food.”

The customer experience is pretty simple, too. You place and pay for your order at the counter, fill up your drinks, take your number to your table and wait for your pizza to be delivered.

Beer and wine are available, but as Jim says, “We didn’t want to give it a bar vibe.”

To the contrary, they want Hot Stone Pizzeria to be a throwback to the family-style pizza places that were popular in the 1990s and 2000s, including arcade games. “We wanted to have the whole family come out and eat,” says Kayla, enjoy being together – “rather than everyone being on their phones.”

Customers place and pay for orders at the counter, take a number and then wait for their hot pizzas to be brought to their table. Drinks, except for beer and wine, are self-serve.

‘Super sweet’ location for being involved with the community

Jim and Kayla, who live in Carl Junction with their three children, were looking for a location when their real estate agent mentioned the availability of a space in the vacant strip center at Madison Street and Broadway.

“We decided we really liked the location and decided to buy the whole building,” says Kayla.

They purchased it from J&M Machining, which is on the same block.

Demolition began on the interior to remove the three partitions. A plus was the existing grill hood. The best part of that says Kayla is “we got to design it ourself.”

On the exterior, they painted, replaced entrances with windows and put on a new roof.

A sandwich board wishing the couple good luck was donated by the contractor, Watson and Sons, of Carthage. “They put a lot of work in this place,” says Jim.

On the way to the high school and junior high, Jim says the location is “super sweet. We want to be involved in the community.” One of their ideas is to host team nights, with a percentage of the sales going to the team.

Although his career working for others has been satisfying, Jim says it’s different now that “you’re doing it for yourself, family and community.

“Seeing eyes light up at the presentation of your pizza is a dream come true.”

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