Sunday, April 14, 2024

Your Pie reopens this weekend under new ownership

The pizza shop Your Pie will be firing up the ovens again to serve customers under new ownership after closing in January. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — After closing shop Jan. 1, 2024, a popular franchise pizza restaurant is launching again in Wilmington. The new owner of Your Pie has also signed a five-store contract to bring more pizzerias to the southeastern coastal region.

READ MORE: Your Pie’s last day of operation was New Year’s Eve

Paul Webber took over the lease at 4403 Oleander Dr. right in the nick of time.

“The lights were off, the doors were locked, and the note was on the door: ‘We’re closed, moving on to retirement,’” he said Thursday. 

Jada O’Malley and Mike Baker opened Your Pie in January 2018 and endured many highs and lows during its operation. They loved getting to know customers and engaging in families, but also had to endure the hardships of hurricanes and a pandemic in its five years of operation.

Mandates from Covid-19 shifted the industry, O’Malley told PCD last month. Paired with a desire to finally retire, the husband-and-wife team decided to make a move to Florida and exit the restaurant industry altogether. They had someone lined up to purchase Your Pie, but it fell through at the last minute.

Enter Webber, who approached O’Malley and Baker the second week of January after Your Pie’s final service wrapped on New Year’s Eve. Paperwork began and this weekend, the pizza shop will be firing up the ovens again to serve customers.

Minor changes were required, such as replacing a dishwasher. But with the menu and franchise systems in place, the restaurant was in good shape and passed inspection. 

“Jada and Mike worked with us and really helped get things lined up a little bit faster, so everything went smoothly,” Webber said. 

Webber is keeping the majority of Your Pie’s former staff, including the store manager Alecia Smith, who he calls “a rockstar” when it comes to customer service. 

A Brunswick County resident and business owner of DreamWorks Land Services, Webber always had a love for the restaurant industry.  His family owned a restaurant, Whistlejacket Grill, in Eden, North Carolina, which helped hone his culinary skills. He worked there after receiving a culinary arts and restaurant management degree from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, while in his 20s. 

His family eventually sold the eatery. 

“It was everything to me,” he said. “But when they sold, I packed my bags and moved to the beach. I have managed Carrabba’s and Outback since, which brought me to the North Myrtle Beach area.”

Twenty or so years ago he stepped away from restaurants to own his own landscaping business. A state certified contractor, Webber secures jobs to do projects for institutions like UNCW. He also is planning to open a garden center in Bolivia in the coming year called Sunset Farm and Garden Supply.

“Horticulture and restaurants have always been my thing,” he said. 

Webber remains a silent partner in multiple eateries in Leland, overseeing inventory. His daughter, Andrea, took an interest in the restaurant career path, which is what led Webber back to owning an operation fully.

“She tried the landscape business but didn’t want to do it, said it was boring and felt like work,” Webber detailed. “She’s young and energetic and absolutely fell in love with the restaurants. She is now talking about culinary school — I guess it’s in the family DNA.”

Andrea will be Your Pie’s assistant manager. 

The fast and casual, build-your-own-pizza eatery started in 2008 in Athens, Georgia, and has more than 70 restaurants in 19 states. It’s known for its personal-sized pizzas (vegan and gluten-free options) and gelato. Webber’s goal is to open one in Shallotte next and continue peppering Your Pies up the Brunswick coast into New Hanover County.

“My joke is, I’m going to start following Starbucks around,” he said.

The goal is to open the next four Your Pies in a year’s succession of Wilmington’s reopening. The pizzeria is hosting its grand reopening on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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