This weekend, a Park City staple will serve up a slice of celebration.
Red Banjo Pizza Parlour, Park City’s longest-running family-owned business, will celebrate its 50th birthday with an open house on Sunday featuring banjo music.
Founder Mary Lou Toly said she’s looking forward to hearing the strumming of a banjo again, which is the kind of music she played when she first opened the Red Banjo Saloon on Park City’s historic Main Street on May 24, 1962.
Toly had three children, and when she and her husband divorced, her children started spending time with her at the saloon. That’s when she decided it wasn’t an appropriate atmosphere for families, so she changed the establishment to a pizza parlor.
The only problem was that she had to teach herself to make pizza. “It was a lot of trial and error,” Toly said, before she came up with the restaurant’s specialty, a lemon-studded pie.
Her son, Scott, grew up in the pizza parlor’s kitchen. Along the way, he learned the family’s recipes and started making pizza, too. In the 1980s, Scott Toly took over as general manager, and brought his daughter, Tana, into the kitchen to start learning the trade.
In 2007, Mary Lou Toly retired, leaving her son and granddaughter, along with their families, to manage the restaurant.
Over the course of 50 years at the Red Banjo, Toly has seen her original customers grow up and bring in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “They still ask for extra lemon,” she said.
David Ireland, a manager and husband to Tana Toly, said more then 100 people have responded to the Facebook page announcing Sunday’s event. “We’re hoping there will be hundreds of people out there,” Ireland said. “We’re ready for that many.”
Red Banjo Pizza turns 50
The family-owned restaurant will celebrate with an open house, featuring raffles for ski and snowboard apparel, gift cards, free food, and a banjo player.
When • 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday
Where • Red Banjo Pizza Parlour, 322 Main St., Park City.