Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen has deep roots in Cleveland County and a vision that stretches all the way back to its namesake pioneer. The restaurant’s name is a tribute to historical entrepreneur Pryor V. Adkins, who originally came to the area in the late 1800s. Brett Adkins, one of the owners of Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen, is the great, great, great grandson of Pryor V. Adkins, and he and his wife/co-owner, Tina, bring the same entrepreneurial spirit to his business today.
A Meaningful Past
The Adkins family has had significant and meaningful ties to the Norman community for more than a century. Pryor V. Adkins journeyed to the area in 1886 in search of economic opportunities, ultimately setting up camp with his family at an area near the current intersection of Lindsey Street and Porter Avenue. It was here that Pryor befriended surveyor Abner Norman, who went on to become the first land surveyor and namesake of Norman. Pryor was instrumental in the establishment of Norman in 1889 and was elected as the second mayor of the town in 1894.
During his lifetime, Pryor was a trailblazer in establishing businesses in the newly founded town of Norman. He acquired multiple town lots during the Land Run and built the Planter’s Hotel (on the site of the current Sooner Theatre), one of the first businesses to open in the new town site. Pryor also built the Adkins-Welsh Rock Building at 208 W. Main, which most notably housed the University of Oklahoma’s first students until University Hall was finished on campus in 1903. Pryor played an important role in establishing Norman’s first town council and helped pave the way for continued economic growth across Cleveland County.
Pryor ultimately moved his family south of the Canadian River, to the area now known as Goldsby. Through a lease with the Chickasaw Nation, the family acquired thousands of acres of land, built a log home on a hill in the middle of the scenic area, and set up various enterprises along the South Canadian River. With the help of his sons, Pryor established a ferry business and built the first bridge across the river at Adkins’ Crossing (now 24th Avenue SW). Pryor’s lasting influence in the area continues to be evident today, as he serves as the namesake of Adkins Hill Road, a two-lane highway located east of the Goldsby exit off I-35.
“Pryor provided a foundation for our family to contribute to the financial success of the City of Norman that we know today, and we couldn’t be more proud to honor his legacy,” Brett explains.
A New Beginning
Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen originally opened its doors in downtown Norman in 2019, and quickly became a local favorite. Offering a delicious menu, lively environment and unique decor, the restaurant offered a wide array of gourmet coal-fired pizzas, deluxe salads, hot wings, sandwiches and house-made pastas. However, the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and facility damage caused by a lightning strike forced the business to close in 2020. Co-owners Brett and Tina Adkins planned to reopen the popular pizzeria, but the path to where and how brought about another entrepreneurial opportunity for the family.
"Building in our own community has always been a dream,” Brett explains. “Creating unique spaces and community places is a specialty of ours and we are more eager than anyone to get this coal-fired oven fired up again!"
The Adkins have rebuilt the restaurant inside a new community known as Selah, a 540-acre multi-use planned community located just south of Norman. Selah will offer a community unlike any other in Oklahoma, providing the first and only Southern Living™ Inspired Community in the state that provides a full rural-to-urban experience. (Editor’s note: Please see the inside cover for more information about Selah.)
“As much as we love the city of Norman and will always know where our story began, we think it is so perfect that we are again crossing the bridge to this quaint little town south of the Canadian River to plant our roots,” Brett adds. “To this day, the land is still as beautiful as ever with preserved green space, fresh air, a slower pace of living and a community that knows what life is truly about. Not only are we rebuilding our restaurant, we are creating an entire lifestyle at Selah.”
An Exciting Future
The new location of Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen has been custom designed and crafted by the developers, architects and visionaries involved in creating the Selah community. The stunning building is full masonry and will serve as the architectural standard for the entire community. The restaurant will include special finishes designed to tell the stories of the Adkins family and their history in the community. The striking wooden bar inside Pryor’s is made from repurposed wood from a cottonwood tree that was found inside of Selah during development.
The new, larger location will also offer an outdoor event space that will offer live music, outdoor games, a large bar, two indoor pickleball courts, and a private dining area for up to 75 guests and more.
“This awesome new space will allow fun and exciting events in the summer, as well as warm and cozy lounging in the colder months,” Tina adds.
Pryor’s mouthwatering menu will offer many of the same coal-fired favorites as the previous location, with the goal of expanding the menu to offer even more starters and delicious entrees.
“Our coal-fired oven certainly makes everything taste amazing, but we definitely won’t ever forget what our specialty is,” Brett says.
Pryor’s pizzas, wings and bread are cooked to perfection in a unique coal-fired oven, powered by anthracite coal. This coal is the oldest, hardest and cleanest type of coal, and cooks virtually smoke free. Diners can taste the difference that coal-fired cooking makes by enjoying popular menu options such as The Pryor’s Pizza (the restaurant’s signature pizza loaded with salami, bacon, pepperoni, sausage, roasted garlic and pecorino), the Flamethrower (a popular pizza made with ground beef, calabrese chile, pepperoncini, jalapeños, and hot sauce), Formaggio Fuso (a tasty appetizer served in a hot skillet with house-made bread sticks) and coal-fired wings (tender chicken wings tossed in rosemary, thyme, garlic and lemon, and served with sides of house-made ranch and hot sauce).
Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen hopes to reopen the restaurant this month (November), with the outdoor space opening in 2022.
“Unprecedented construction delays make a specific grand opening date difficult to announce right now,” Brett explains. “We are more than ready to open our doors, but, for instance, the actual door itself was backordered due to a glass shortage from a recent hailstorm. But we look forward to welcoming both our new and returning customers to come experience our one-of-a-kind dining experience very soon.”
The new Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen is located 10 minutes south of Norman at 18932 Selah Way. Find more information at PryorsPizzaKitchen.com. Stay tuned to Pryor’s social media channels for grand opening announcements (search for Pryors Pizza Kitchen on Facebook or @PryorsKitchen on Instagram.)
For more information about Selah, visit @selahokliving on Instagram, search for Selah OK Living on Facebook or visit SelahOK.com.