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Thursday

September 2014

18

Paisano's Pizzeria closes in Genesee Depot

After eight years delivering pizza and entertaining guests in Genesee Depot, Paisano's Pizzeria is closing its doors Jan. 31.

After a lease disagreement, owner Tom Munsie said it's bittersweet to be leaving the Genesee Depot area and the customers he has grown close to.

"We get the same people that order on Saturday or order on Sunday, and when they come in on a different day I say, 'What are you coming in here for, it's not Sunday,' " Munsie said. "You know the customer, you know what they order, and the customer feels more comfortable knowing their order is going to be right."

Munsie has just begun his search for a new home for Paisano's but has taken special interest in the Mukwonago area.

"I've looked primarily in Mukwonago. I really want to be in a city where there is a little more traffic and is still community-oriented," Munsie said.

Community is important to Paisano's. The business has sponsored Little League teams and other community initiatives in Genesee Depot. Munsie said he has also enjoyed working with high school fundraisers by doing "sell a slice" or providing gift certificates for raffles and other events.

There's also a sense of community in the small staff that makes up the small pizzeria. Munsie said he primarily hires high school students, and they tend to stay until they reach college.

"The people that are working here say they want to go wherever I go," Munsie said. "They are also disheartened by the closing, which I understand because having the business is like having another kid."

Munsie, whose own family has worked at the restaurant, said he hopes staff members will come with him to his new location, but he also wants to hire in the community where he ends up.

Munsie hopes to have a new location selected this spring and have Paisano's ready to open by summer.

In his new location, he hopes to add to his signature pizza menu. He also would like to explore having live entertainment on Saturday nights.

Until then, however, Munsie is just enjoying his last days in Genesee Depot, celebrating the eight years he spent in the community. "When I started to realize about the lease, I understood it was business," Munsie said. "But then I started telling my employees and telling my customers and then it really hit me; I don't know, maybe I'm still in denial. It will hit me Thursday when everyone starts to leave."

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