ST. LOUIS - Old churches dot the landscape all over the St. Louis area. But what you'll find inside one of the old churches in south city may surprise you.
The building at 4601 Morgan Ford Road certainly looks like a church, complete with a sloped roof, steeple and a cross. However, you'll hear non-traditional "call and response" inside these walls.
The former Christy United Methodist Church is now the home of Dojo Pizza. It's a combination of karate, pizza, and community. Owner Loren Copp bought the old church, a friend donated an old pizza kitchen.
"All the money that comes in from the pizza side goes into the kids being able to do karate for free and just keeping the place open here," Copp said.
Now volunteers make and serve pizza, and they do it in style, fully decked-out in karate uniforms. What used to be a place of worship is now a restaurant and the pizza that was made downstairs is served upstairs in the old church sanctuary.
"One of the funny things is I had somebody say 'Hey, I don't think we have to pray for this because we're already at church,'" Copp said.
It's not a "traditional" pizza place, but proceeds from the pizza mean Copp can offer neighborhood kids karate lessons, absolutely free of charge.
"You've got to lay down the gangs, the fighting, some of the lifestyles that are out there and as my sensei said, they're paying enough with that and so that's why we just make sure it stays free," Copp said.