CAMILLUS — Pudgie’s Pizza — a family-owned business, offering pizza, wings, and sandwiches — has recently opened a location in the Fairmount area of Camillus.
On May 12, brothers Patrick and Shawn Cleary opened the new 3,000-square-foot restaurant at 4401 West Genesee St., a site that was previously home to an HSBC bank branch.
In opening their own pizza shop, the Cleary brothers are following in the footsteps of their parents —Bill and Joanne Cleary — who own a Pudgie’s Pizza in Cortland.
“We thought that Camillus was a really nice area where a lot of people live; there are a lot of houses there. We didn’t do a lot of advertising, so there’s a lot of word of mouth. Hopefully, if people like the food, it will keep growing,” Patrick Cleary says.
The Camillus Pudgie’s employs 25, a combination of full-time and part-time workers, Cleary says.
Cleardogg, Inc., a Cortland–based company owned by Bill and Joanne Cleary, bought the 4401 West Genesee St. building for $505,000 from First Niagara Bank in early January, according to Onondaga County property-tax records. The Cleary family invested more than $1 million to turn the structure into a pizza shop.
Business has been steadily increasing since the launch, especially in the evenings, according to Patrick and Bill Cleary. They declined to disclose sales totals so far.
The Cleary brothers did not do any initial advertising for the new Pudgie’s because it was more important for them to train their employees first to ensure a good product, but they will do more advertising for this business in the future, Patrick Cleary contends.
Cleary says the new Pudgie’s maintains the family tradition by using the original sauce recipe his great-grandmother in Italy created. He says he “grew up” working at Pudgie’s. “As soon as I was old enough to pour a soda, I was working with customers,” Cleary says.
“My brother and I will be here for a long time. We put a lot into this, financially and mentally. We want to make sure this turns out great,” he says.
The Pudgie’s menu includes stromboli, salads, sandwiches, and side orders to go along with its signature sheet pizza and wings. The restaurant has a drive-thru, a seating area, and offers home delivery.
Pudgie’s was founded in 1963 in Elmira by Charles (Pudgie) Cleary and Michael P. Cleary, Sr., Bill Cleary’s uncles.
Pudgie’s also has locations in Horseheads, Ithaca, Corning, and Elmira (Northside), owned by various members of the Cleary family, in addition to the Camillus and Cortland restaurants. The website for these eateries is pudgiespizza.org.
Pudgie’s also has locations in Syracuse, Waverly, Binghamton, Rochester, Elmira (Southside), Canandaigua, Mansfield, Pa., and Clarksville, Md. that are owned by MP Cleary, Inc., a company run by other members of the Cleary family, according to its website (pudgiespizza.com).
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