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Biz Buzz: New pizza restaurant opening in downtown Idaho Falls

Biz Buzz

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Pie Hole is opening at 321 Park Ave. in downtown Idaho Falls next month. | Facebook

Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.

BIZ BRIEF

IDAHO FALLS

Pie Hole coming to downtown next month

The Royal Shoe Shop closed in November and will soon be the home of Pie Hole. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — Pizza lovers have several options to choose from when visiting downtown Idaho Falls, and soon they’ll have another one.

Pie Hole is opening next month across from The Celt Pub & Grill at 321 Park Ave. The restaurant will offer eight unique pizza flavors, with four flavors that are rotated out daily. One of the flavors is the pretty, pretty princess, which is a meat lovers pizza. There’s also drunk candy, Pie Hole’s take on the Hawaiian pizza.

“What we wanted to have happen is to have some big, burly guy come in and say ‘I want two slices of the pretty, pretty princess,'” Doug Kinney, one of the owners, tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Old-fashioned pepperoni will be an option as well, along with a daily vegan and vegetarian option. Each pizza will be served by the slice, but full-size pizzas will also be available.

Though this will be the fourth pizza restaurant in downtown, Kinney says the unique menu and the hours of operation are what sets it apart from the others. Pie Hole caters to the late-night crowd and will operate seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

As a flight nurse with Air Idaho Rescue, Kinney says he often misses dinner because he works late.

“The main areas we fly to, there’s a Pie Hole restaurant, and it’s always between the airport and the hospital,” he says. “By the time we’re done with a patient, we’re hungry and it’s like one o’clock in the morning. Pie Hole is the only thing open.”

There are currently five Pie Hole locations — one in Denver, one in Salt Lake City, one in Missoula, Montana and two in Boise. Each location is independently-owned.

Kinney’s been to all five of them and he had an epiphany during a stop at one of the restaurants about 18 months ago.

“These guys got something going on. This is nice to have,” he said. “Later on, I said ‘You know what? For a side gig, this might not be a bad choice.'”

He began looking for a place to open a store in Idaho Falls and eventually purchased the space formerly occupied by The Royal Shoe Shop.

“You’ve got the bar crowd late at night, and on top of that, you’ve got all these other businesses, such as Pachanga’s and The SnakeBite that already draws a big crowd of people,” he says.

He was also fascinated by the building’s history.

LOOKING BACK…

Park Avenue in 1949. | Doug Kinney

The Royal Shoe Shop closed in November after serving customers under different owners for nearly 100 years.

Jeff Walchli, the most recent owner, says a greek family first opened a barbershop and fruit stand at that location in the 1920s. They later turned it into a shoe shop before their nephew, Pete Kontes, purchased the business in 1968.

Walchli went to work for Kontes at the shoe shop in 1980 and purchased it five years later.

“(Pete) was in an accident and couldn’t work anymore and so I bought the shop from him,” says Walchli.

Walchli sold and repaired leather shoes and products to customers for 34 years. Though the business was profitable, Walchli says it is a dying trade and he didn’t want to do it anymore.

Meanwhile, Kinney is busy preparing the building for the opening of Pie Hole at the end of April and he’s excited to begin serving customers.

“The restaurant started in Boise, and (there are) a lot of people (who) approach me and say ‘I went to BSU. I love the Pie Hole.’ It’s a nostalgic alumni thing for those folks,” Kinney says. “It’s really good pizza by the slice.”

A grand opening is in the works but an exact date has not been determined. Visit the website or Facebook page to learn more.

BIZ BITS

Zoo Idaho postpones outreach programs, Portneuf Valley Environmental Fair canceled

POCATELLO — As part of the continuing precautionary measures the city of Pocatello is taking against coronavirus (COVID-19), Zoo Idaho is postponing all outreach efforts until further notice and the Science and Environment Division is cancelling the 2020 Portneuf Valley Environmental Fair. Portneuf Valley Environmental Fair sponsors are asked to contact Jenna Dohman, Environmental Technician with the City of Pocatello, to discuss their options regarding sponsorships. The decisions were made in consultation with Southeastern Idaho Public Health and current Centers for Disease Control recommendations. City officials encourage all residents to take precautions to protect themselves from novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Additional information on ways to help prevent the spread of the disease can be found here. You can also visit the state’s official coronavirus website, and cdc.gov.

Distinguished scientist from INL recognized among 2020 Idaho Women of the Year

Dawn Scates | INL

IDAHO FALLS – The Idaho Business Review announced its selections for the 2020 Women of the Year Awards, and distinguished scientist Dawn Scates of Idaho National Laboratory is one of 50 honorees selected based on criteria including leadership experience, professional accomplishments, mentorship and community service. Scates joined INL in 1999 upon completion of her master’s degree in physics from Idaho State University, distinguishing herself with her work ethic and developing one-of-a-kind gamma spectroscopy systems to evaluate nuclear fission products and support the development of sustainable domestic energy sources. Refusing to be limited to one area of research, however, she has expanded her responsibilities by taking on a leadership role and is currently the manager of four Nuclear Science and Technology labs at INL.

Rocky Mountain Power will not disconnect customers during emergency response to COVID-19

REXBURG — Rocky Mountain Power is temporarily suspending non-payment disconnections for customers to support the state of emergency response to the COVID-19 virus. With many in our communities potentially needing to self-isolate or work from home, the company understands the importance of uninterrupted electric service. The company will continue to evaluate other ways to support our customers for the duration of this quickly evolving public health emergency. Customers can call 1-888-221-7070 at any time to speak with a customer care agent who can help answer any questions.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

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How local funeral homes are handling COVID-19 concerns

Over 4,400 people sign petition to save local grocery store from closing

Local business implementing paid sick leave for any employees who may get coronavirus

If you have a Biz Buzz item you want to share, send it to rett@eastidahonews.com. Remember to use “Biz Buzz” in the subject line. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the free Biz Buzz email newsletter.

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