Paul Berardini has gotten a warm welcome in Clarence.
When you make good food for people, things like that tend to happen.
The second location for Batavia-based Pauly's Pizza is really catching on, Berardini said, but what really kicked business up another notch was a rave review in the Buffalo News.
"That was priceless," Berardini said. "She gave us four out of four pennies and I've been told nobody has gotten four out of four pennies in a long time."
Berardini and partner Dave Stupp opened the new location Oct. 24 -- by coincidence, the seventh anniversary of the first Pauly's location opening on Liberty Street in Batavia (Pauly's is now located on Ellicott Street after a fire destroyed the previous location).
"This town needed something different," Berardini said. "They needed a hearth-baked pizza. They needed something we could offer that they're not used to getting in this area. They're used to pans, screens, conveyer belts, where we're doing hearth-baked, and my tenders, they've never had out here."
Where Batavia has eight pizzerias serving 18,000 people, Clarance only had four pizzerias serving 25,000.
When a prime location -- with more than 15,000 cars passing daily -- on Route 5 became available, Berardini and Stupp decided to move on it.
The 3,000-square-foot location was previously a served charcoal-pit hamburgers and hot dogs, but the owner struggled with a seasonal business, Berardini said.
The partners invested in two pizza ovens, a fryer, a griddle and all new furniture and fixtures.
"Everything you see here is new," said Berardini, who has talked in recent years about trying to find a way to expand the dining area of Pauly's.
The new location gives him a restaurant with plenty of seating.
"I always felt that a pizzeria isn't just a pizzeria any more," Berardini said. "Now we serve fish fry and ribs and pasta. We're already selling more fish fries and fingers here."
As is the process these days, it wasn't easy to get the new location open. There were delays with the health inspections and the town was giving some push back on the sign.
"Once they found out what we were investing in this place, and that we were hiring 20 people, giving 20 new jobs to the area, they kind of gave us a stay of execution on the sign," Berardini said.
Getting the restaurant open has taken a lot of Berardini's time. He hopes that after the first of the year, he can more evenly split time between the Batavia and Clarence locations. He hopes more friends and fans from Batavia will visit Clarence.
But working nearly seven days a week suits Berardini just fine for now. The new location is doing well, he feels like the employees in both locations are family, and he says he's living the dream.
"I was born to do this and this is what I love to do," Berardini said.