At Pi Pizza in Houston, you can choose from 20 specialty pies, or you can have it your way and build your own. One thing you can't do? Bring a gun in the joint.
Seems sensible, but this past week the no-firearms policy led to a massive blow-up when gun rights activists got into it with the restaurant on Facebook—and subsequently, all over the internet—after one of the partners behind Pi confronted a man online in regards to the rule.
A Texas man named Kyle Kelly planned on going to Pi over the weekend until he saw that the restaurant banned firearms on the premises. Upon learning of the policy, Kelly took to Pi's Facebook page to express his disappointment, writing a one-star review that has since been removed: "Was excited to try this place, then I saw that they ban legal concealed carry of handguns. Any business that removes my right to defend myself is a business that doesn't want my money."
Texas made it legal to carry handguns openly this year, but business owners and private property holders maintain the right to prohibit weapons on their property.
The Pi Pizza account responded, "Hey Kyle, FO. You are correct, we do not want your money."
That's when things got messy.
The gun rights group Texas3006, which documents businesses that post signs limiting gun-carrying rights, posted a "HOSTILE BUSINESS ALERT!!!" on its Facebook page along with a screenshot of the conversation between Pi Pizza and the customer.
"Take a look at how they are treating our most law abiding citizens who are bringing this lack of ability to defend themselves to their attention. Telling them to "F*** off"? Seriously?" the post said. "Please comment and share this to every pro-carry group you know! Let's make this place regret their poor business, and more importantly SAFETY, decision!"
Lee Ellis, a partner in the hospitality group that runs Pi, told CultureMap Houston he was upset that the one-star review didn't address their food or anything about the restaurant.
"It wasn't about the pizza. It wasn't about the service," Ellis said. "It was not a legitimate review. Basically, I went in and called him out and said, 'F.O.'" Ellis added that he didn't think restaurants that serve booze should allow people to carry guns.
But Pi Pizza also seems to have gained quite a few new customers from the conflict. CultureMap reports that there were lines out the door at Pi over the weekend, and that fans of the restaurant and pro-gun control advocates took to review sites in hopes of balancing out the one-star reviews.
The aftermath of the incident is continuing to play out, but it looks like gun-toting pizza lovers will have to look elsewhere if they're trying to score a slice in Houston.