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McClatchy-Tribune  07/15/2014 4:10 AM ET
New pizzeria opens in south Kansas City; fitness boutique coming to the Plaza [The Kansas City Star :: ]

July 15--John Milone Jr. wanted to be a restaurateur, but he just wasn't ready to risk it all.

So seven years ago he purchased a pizza stone for the oven of his south Kansas City apartment and started a part-time business making pizzas from scratch. He asked customers to place orders 24 hours in advance and delivered the pizzas himself.

And just in case, he kept his full-time job as manager of an area rental car company.

By 2012 he had built a steady following and was ready for a retail location. He opened Johnny Jo's Pizzeria (after his Johnny Jo Marco Polo nickname) at 1209 W. 47th St., selling stone oven pizzas like the Works (with pepperoni, Italian sausage, green bell peppers, fresh mushrooms and onions) and the Classic (fresh mozzarella topped with fresh basil), as well as strombolis.

But Milone also kept working part-time at Jasper's restaurant, which is owned by his family members, including his godfather Leonard Mirabile.

Now Milone has expanded again, opening The Pizzeria at 516 W. 103rd St. The operation, which is mostly for carryout, features a mural of the original restaurant on 47th Street -- where it all started.

The Pizzeria offers the same Johnny Jo's Pizzeria menu, as well as two new pies: Johnny Jo's Signature Pie (with pepperoni and sausage) and the Classico with hamburger, mushrooms, olives and onions.

In keeping with his slow-growth strategy, Milone plans to wait until the Pizzeria is more established before adding pastas and sandwiches to the menu.

"I think people like us because I'm local, not a chain, and I'm using family recipes handed down from generation to generation," Milone said. "We use the freshest ingredients as possible and we slice all of our meats and vegetables, no prepackaged frozen ingredients."

Indoor cycling studio coming to the Plaza

Locally owned indoor cycling center Mojo Cycling Studio plans a fall opening on the Country Club Plaza.

Amanda Rismiller and Albert Lee are taking a 4,583-square-foot space at 4722 Broadway, Suite 200, above The Apple Store, for the indoor cycling studio.

They selected the Plaza because their target demographic -- 25- to 40-year-olds -- shop, dine, work and live in the area.

Boutique-size fitness centers also are becoming more popular because they "focus on one thing and do it extremely well" -- yoga, Pilates, boxing, ballet and other workouts, Rismiller said.

Mojo will offer up to 36 classes per week, with five to six classes on weekdays and two to three classes on Saturdays and Sundays. It will be a pay-per-class system with no membership fees or long-term commitments.

The space will be designed as a dimly lit riding "sanctuary" offering 30 state-of-the-art bikes. It also will have a filtered water station, a lounge area overlooking the Plaza, showers and changing areas, towel service and shoe rental, as well as a small retail area selling limited-edition Mojo clothing.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @JoyceKC.


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