Women’s History Month: Main Street’s matriarch, Mary Lou Toly

PARK CITY, Utah — Mary Lou Toly, who was born, raised, and remains in Park City to this day, personifies Women’s History Month.

The 85-year-old is the matriarch of six generations in Park City and the original owner and operator of the town’s oldest business, Red Banjo Pizza on Main Street.

Four generations of business persons have created, cooked, served, and delivered pizzas and more in its original location since 1962.  

Toly told TownLift, “I’m so proud of my whole family, and I really enjoy getting to go around Park City and see all the fun things they are doing.”

Not only has the day job remained the same, but the nighttime routine has as well, as Mary Lou has kept the same Old Town house she lived in as a youngster in the family. 

Mary Lou and her children, Roxanne, Steven, and Scott, attended the same school as her in the Marsac Building adjacent to Main Street, now Park City Town Hall.

She instills and inspires her love of mountains in Roxanne, a retired Alpine U.S. Ski Team athlete, the longtime Deer Valley employee who competes in cross-country skiing in winters and gravel and mountain biking in the summers in Park City.

She instills and inspires her love of hospitality in Scott, who co-owns and operates Red Banjo Pizza. He maintains the Cancer Dollar Wall in the restaurant, where patrons tack dollar bills up with notes and names written on them for thrivers and memories. He played football for Park City High School, baseball for Park City Jr. High School, and raced on the University of Utah Alpine Ski Team. 

She instills and inspires her love of family in Steven, who moved to the small tourist town of Lava Hot Springs with extended family as an adult. He currently resides there, right near where Mary Lou purchased Main Street’s Royal Hotel and Pizzeria decades ago in Southern Idaho. 

She instills and inspires her love of community in Jane, her daughter-in-law, who has long worked as a manager for the Park City School District’s Community Education Department.

Two of Mary Lou’s grandchildren are Tana and Tyler Toly.

She instills and inspires her love of leadership in Tana, a Park City City Council member. 

She instills and inspires her work ethic in Tyler, who shares her vision of the future as he continues the tradition of hiring Park City High School students to work at Red Banjo Pizza and keeps the restaurant’s miner’s vibe alive.

Two of Mary Lou’s great-grandchildren are Donovan and Carson Toly.

She instills and inspires a sense of adventure in fourth-grader Donovan as he ski jumps and skis nordic combined with the Park City Ski Team at the Utah Olympic Park. When he landed on the podium this week, about half the family, including Mary Lou, were there to cheer him on, and about the other half were volunteering for the competition. In Colorado mere months ago, she had traveled to watch Donovan ski jump and was the first to hug and high-five him when he succeeded in skiing off the next level big jump.

She instills and inspires her love of friendships in McPolin Elementary student Carson as she spreads smiles throughout the town. 

After the youngest Tolys marveled at Mary Lou’s bright grey hair, the family gave her the endearing nickname “Shiny.” And it has stuck.

Shiny didn’t have to go to an Olympics; the Olympics came to Shiny. The Clydesdale’s carriage strolled by her door at Red Banjo Pizza every day on Main Street during the Salt Lake 2002 Games.

Shiny doesn’t have to go to the Sundance Film Festival; the Sundance Film Festival comes to Shiny. The stars stroll by her door at Red Banjo Pizza every day on Main Street every winter, located right next to the highly photographed, iconic Egyptian Theater.

Say hi to her next time you’re picking up pizza.

When Shiny was growing up, the town’s treasures were silver. Now that she’s all grown up, thanks to her, the town treasures are Tolys.

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Red Banjo celebrates 60 years of business

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