HIDDEN GEMS, WYOMING’S BEST EATS: Thermopolis P6 Station Dishes Up Homemade Pizza Family-Style

The Shaffer family opened the P6 Station Stone Fired Pizza Company in a converted gas station in 2019, with the goal of offering the community homemade pizzas in a family-friendly atmosphere in Thermopolis. (Courtesy photo from Ryan Shaffer)

By Jennifer Kocher

Special to the Wyoming Truth

THERMOPOLIS, Wyo.–I immediately liked the casual, modern vibe at the P6 Station Stone Fired Pizza Company in Thermopolis. Positioned on the arc of Park Street near Hot Springs County High School, the squat but funky building is a converted gas station with a hip redesign.

A teenager with an eager smile greeted me at the front counter. Turned out she is Madison, the 15-year-old daughter of owner Ryan Shaffer and one of several teens who run the restaurant. Shaffer values hiring young people and estimates he employs about one-third – or roughly 25 – of the seniors at Hot Springs County High School.

Lacey Shaffer oversaw the redesign of the building with a hip, modern flair devoid of big-screen televisions and other distractions. (Courtesy photo from Ryan Shaffer)

Madison directed me through the simple menu – mostly pizzas with a rotating pasta dish on Tuesdays. It’s an easy choice. There’s one crust (hand thrown) and size, which is roughly 13 inches depending on who makes it, with a variety of sauce choices including red, pesto, alfredo and BBQ. There are side salads and appetizers like bread sticks, as well as cheesecake made by Shaffer’s wife, Lacey.

I’m a purist and settled on plain cheese for $11. Everything is homemade based on family recipes with only a small number of items coming off a food truck, Shaffer said. Madison handed me a plate and my glass of water as I took a seat among the dozen or so tables in the dining room, which was designed by Lacey, who works full time as a counselor in the Big Horn County School District.

It was late afternoon and I had the place to myself. Notably absent – along with alcohol – were big screen televisions and other distractions.

Owner Ryan Shaffer prides himself on offering tried-and-true family recipes with fresh ingredients.
(Courtesy photo from Ryan Shaffer)

“We want a family-friendly atmosphere,” Shaffer said. “A fairly quiet good place to hang out with friends or family and talk and enjoy one another’s company.”

Shaffer, who has a contagious smile and friendly demeanor, grew up in the restaurant industry. His parents owned Dairyland next door, and he began working there at age 14. When it was time to sell the business, however, neither he nor his three sisters stepped up to buy it.

“I had no interest in going into the food industry,” Shaffer said with a laugh.

When Ryan Shaffer’s employer decided to move operations to Texas, Shaffer opened his pizza place so the family could remain in their hometown of Thermopolis. (Courtesy photo from Ryan Shaffer)

Instead, he became a mechanical engineer and worked for Gas Interest until the company announced plans to move operations to Texas in 2019. The Shaffers didn’t want to leave their hometown, so they came up with other options.

And though he never planned to own a restaurant, Shaffer bought the building from his father.

The Shaffers chose to serve pizza, because besides a Pizza Hut, there were no other pizza options in Thermopolis at the time. Recognizing they couldn’t compete with a national chain, the couple decided to offer homemade recipes as a way to differentiate their operation.  

Shaffer is definitely on to a winning combination. The pizza was every bit as good as it looks; I did not need a to-go box.

P6 Station Stone Fired Pizza Company, 544 Park Street, Thermopolis, Wyoming; (307) 864-3666. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

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