Regulars to the pizza place on Southaven’s Main Street, also known as Stateline Road West, who come in may remember Christi Roberts as the server who made sure your order was right and done to your satisfaction.
Today, Roberts will still probably pick up a pad and take an order. But she’s even more invested in making sure the order is done right and to your satisfaction now. That’s because Roberts doesn’t just work there; she owns the place.
Roberts was with the Memphis franchise of pizza places named Exline’s Pizza, when the franchise decided to close its Southaven location and Roberts was faced without having a job.
Working with Brian Buehrlein, the pair was able to get the money together to buy the place and restart the business under the new name of Southaven Pizza.
They have been operating the restaurant since April 15. Their preparation to get the pizza place going had been seven months in the making.
The decision came on a bit of an impulse at the moment she was getting her last paycheck from the previous owners, saying that she wanted to buy the place.
“I told Brian, ‘Dude, you gotta buy my job back,’” Roberts said. “They just closed down. He said, ‘If you can a figure out a way to do it, we’ll do it, but you’ve gotta start looking,’” which is what Roberts did and with Buehrlein’s help have together restarted the business.
When it was Exline’s, it was known as the “best pizza,” but Roberts said the food they put out can challenge that claim pretty well, she believes. Apparently, customers agree and since opening, regulars have started coming back and nearby businesses are calling in orders.
“We’ve got the warehouses behind us and they are awesome,” Roberts said. “Places across the street are good and even the antique shop down the street, they’ve been really, really helpful. Most of the people that come in during the day and during lunch are a lot from other businesses that are small businesses and we’re supporting each other.”
Roberts added the evening business centers on the Southaven area, which she hopes will grow as more people learn about Southaven Pizza and the food which, Roberts believes, tastes better than before.
Being the owner is a great feeling, Roberts said, admitting ownership comes with long hours, but she doesn’t mind.
“It feels pretty awesome to be the owner,” Roberts said. “I was in transportation logistics before, doing 17-18 hours a day, seven days a week. I figured if I can do that somebody else, I can do it for myself.”
Southaven Pizza is open from 11 a.m-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, until 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday, and from 12 noon-10 p.m. on Sunday.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.