On Saturday, December 10, owners of the nearly ten-year-old Mid City Pizza closed its Bank Street doors, three years after the death of its founder, Rand Owens. The announcement read, in part, “We tried as best as we could to uphold and honor Rand’s legacy in this shop, and we hope you know how important this community was to him and has been to us.”
Owens founded Mid City Pizza in 2013 when he took over a Banks Street pizza parlor formerly known as Lazaro’s after working there. A year later he moved his operation across the street, reopening in the space that previously held Crescent Pie & Sausage. It was there Mid City Pizza grew into a laid-back, cozy destination for thin-crust pizza known for its colorful artwork and old-school arcade games NBA Jam and Simpsons Arcade.
Three years later Owens, who was interchangeably known as the “Mayor of Mid City” and the “King of Banks Street,” expanded with a second location on Miro Street, MCP Uptown. In 2018 he bought Banks Street Bar, the half-century-old dive bar and music venue across the street from Mid City Pizza and the same building where he first started slinging slices. Following Owens’s death in February 2020, Mid City Pizza, MCP Uptown, and Banks Street Bar continued to be owned and operated by a small group of Owens’s friends and family members.
In August 2022, a firestorm erupted on social media when Banks Street Bar employees commandeered the bar’s Instagram page to chronicle a staff-wide firing by its new management team, prompting local support and disappointment for the workers who’d helped Owens since he took over as owner. In a Reddit thread about Mid City Pizza closing, a number of commenters noted what they felt was a decline in the restaurant’s quality over the last few years.
MCP Uptown (6307 S. Miro Street) and Banks Street Bar (4401 Banks Street) remain open.