Kelso’s Pizza closes its doors after 50 years in business in the Northland

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Customers  lined up to get in to Kelso's Pizza one last time as the business opened its doors Tuesday afternoon.

Kelso’s first opened in 1969 on Liberty Square when Bill Kelso, a former pitcher for the Angels, retired from Major League Baseball. He ran the business along with his wife.

They later spent decades at Metro North Mall before relocating to North Kansas City at Armour and Swift. Kelly Kelso and her brother Jeff then took over the business. Kelly said Jeff transitioned into the auto business a few years ago.

Kelly Kelso, now a grandmother, said it was simply time for her to spend more time with her family.

Customers, including one woman who said she was engaged at the restaurant where she had her first date, showered the family with praise Tuesday on their last day.

“None of us can really believe what this has meant to people. It’s amazing. It’s awesome," Kelso said.

"I love the crust, the sauce and there's a lot of memories here. My family has been coming here forever. I came here with dates, awesome food. It's going to be truly missed," Freda Gilpin said.

Customers raved about the dressing on the Souper Bowl Salad. Kelso was selling bottles to go, but said she'd declined requests to divulge the family secret recipe.

Kelso's was known for the baseball-themed names of its pizzas including the Joe DiMaggio, the Tommy Lasorda and the Grand Slam.

Kelso said a new restaurant plans to open in the same spot with a new menu, name and owners.

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