College Town Pizzeria Adapts Over Time Fat Bob’s Remains Youth’s Midnight Hang Out
The front counter at Fat Bob’s displays it’s pizzas, soda machine, and other things.
n the corner of Main Street and South Chestnut in New Paltz, NY sits the bustling pizzeria named Fat Bob’s. Inside, resides herds of college students buying inexpensive pizza and enjoying a late night with their friends. Music is playing and a large wide screen TV is being watched. Towers of pizza boxes are stacked in the back. The employees are as recognizable as a friend, or classmate. Different types of pizza pies are displayed behind glass for everyone to see. The owner, “Fat Bob,” who actually isn’t that big at all, has a few grey streaks in his hair, and a walrus mustache that makes him resemble Nintendo’s Mario.
The owner of Fat Bob’s is Robert Germinara and lives in Blooming Grove NY. Germinara, 62, has owned Fat Bob’s for about three years. After a large fire in 1988, the location was rebuilt, and became home to Supreme Pizza, which was open on and off for over eight months. When Supreme Pizza closed, the location was empty for 6 months before re-opening
as Fat Bob’s. Germinara took over the site replacing the last owner of Supreme Pizza. Germinara tries to make Fat Bobs fun, and attracts the young crowd by having it remain opened until 4:30 a.m. “6570% of my business is with the SUNY kids,” Germinara claims. Charles Cullen, 20, a regular customer from High Falls NY, agrees with his friends that Fat Bob’s is successful
“Sixty five percent to 70 percent of my business is with the SUNY kids.” — Owner of Fat Bob’s, Robert Germinara
because of its low prices, social atmosphere and close proximity to campus. “Is the cornerstone of the community,” says Cullen. Fat Bob’s major competitor, Gourmet Pizza, exists on the same block. During the period of which the site was closed, Gourmet Pizza was the only place selling pizza on the block before Germinara re-opened it as Fat Bob’s. “Gourmet had a free run for a year and a half,” Germinara said. When Germinara opened up Fat Bob’s in 2007, he tried out all the pizzerias in town. His favorite was Rocco’s Pizzeria which is located in the New Paltz Plaza. Today, Germinara tries to mimic that style.
Germinara is all about putting claims, “Bob won’t out a good product that is teach me.” affordable. However, Fair Germinara explained that believes that all the chicken they trim Bob is generous and cut is fresh. When it because she said, comes to cheese, Fat Bob’s “He feeds me all is fresh compared to their the time, even competitor’s cheese product, when I’m not which is usually 60 cents working, and he’s less. Fat Bob’s makes their always giving me own sauce, grinds their own food.” cheese and makes a Chicken Another worker Parmesan dinner for the cost who shares a of $8.95. “People feel they similar relationship can cut every corner they cut with Bob is pizza to make their profit,” said maker, Justin Germinara, “I don’t feel that Berbig. Berbig is a way; I’d rather get a decent 26 year old senior product and spend more from Oyster Bay money.” NY majoring in The two priorities that come history. Berbig with the business, Germinara makes the dough A Fat Bob’s employee spends his break in the jokingly stated is, “Alcohol for the night venues cafeterria, reading the newspaper and and pizza.” Germinara has shift and then a special from Monday to rushes to make drinking water. Thursday in which you can the pizza when bacon ranch pie. It first came to buy any slice for $2 while Gourmet is the large college crowds arrive. The New Paltz when Michael Germinara, $3.60 any slice. Fat Bob’s sells large Germinara’s son, worked for a pizzeria overcrowding sometimes causes quantities of slices each day so their Berbig and the other workers to run in Monroe NY. With permission from profit could be equal to pizzerias out of pizza. the owners, Germinara added the like Gourmet. “I don’t have anything recipe to their menu. Germinara against him, he just runs it differently,” and his workers are constantly Germinara said. experimenting with pizza creating Fat Bob’s is known for its chicken such flavors as: chili pie, chicken cordon bleu pie, Sheppard’s pie and pulled pork pie. Germinara mainly hires college students in the hopes of attracting more business. One of which is Libby Fair, 22; a senior A customer begins to take a bite SUNY New Paltz theater out of a Fat Bob’s slice. major from Rochester NY. Fair has been Besides dealing with overcrowded working the night shift at Fat Bob’s for around a year students, Germinara often has to deal with health inspectors. A study made serving pizza, working the cash register, setting up at by the Ulster County Department of the beginning of the night, Health Inspectors from Jan 1, 2007 to A Fat Bob’s worker prepares a dealing with drunken people and Oct 20, 2009 revealed that Fat Bob’s had 12 major and 83 minor health even cleaning up vomit. Fair wants bunch of pizzas near the oven violations. Germinara explained that to learn how to make pizza but during the day.
An outside view of the Fat Bob’s building. This site which is on the corner of Main Street and South Chestnut in New Paltz, NY, had a fire in 1988 and was called Supreme Pizza before Germinara took over the spot and renamed it Fat Bob’s. there are two violations, red and blue. He received a red violation when he had an air freshener in his bathroom. “They’re saying, ‘but what if it went into the food’.” Germinara added. Red violations could be something like finding a cigarette butt on the floor, although, Germinara never allows smoking. He was also written up with a blue violation for a missing screw in a window. Germinara stated that his health code violations were never for food, only for minor missing things. “If they want to bust your chops, they’ll find something,” Germinara said. Germinara believes there is always room for improvement;
he plans on changing the menu and moving forward from the traditional Italian pizzeria by adding a Mexican or bar be que style. Germinara is contemplating whether the change will either make or break the customer’s wants. “I’m grateful for the support that the kids have given me here,” Germinara said. He’s always seeing a diverse group of kids. In his mind the pizza business, “is not rocket science.” By Anthony Vecchiarello
The Chicken Bacon Ranch pie which is always on the menu at Fat Bob’s. Usually the customers’ favored pie. All Photos By Anthony Vecchiarello
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Fat Bob’s Pizza Toppings & Flavors
Plain Cheese Chicken Cutlet Parm Buffalo Chicken Chicken Bacon Ranch Philly Cheesesteak Margherita (Basil, Fresh Mozzarella & Fresh Tomato) Salad Pizza Baked Ziti Veggie Lover’s (Spinach, Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms, Tomato & Olives) Meat Lover’s (Sausage, Meatballs, Pepperoni & Mozzarella) Hawaiian Pizza Bianca Fresh Ricotta (Fresh Ricotta, Parmesan & Mozzarella) Fat Bob’s Quasi Tutto
Fat Bob’s Versus Gourmet Pizza Fat Bob’s Pizzeria
$$ Chicken Bacon Ranch Pie $$ Great Location for college students either on or off campus. $$ Open till 4:30 am on weekends $$ Pie slices are reasonable
Top: Fat Bob’s Front entrance Bottom: Sign of Gourmet
Left: Outside View of the Fat Bob’s Building on Main Street and South Chestnut, New Paltz NY. Right: Outside View of Gournet Pizza building on Main Street, New Paltz NY.
$$ Right on Main Street New Paltz, NY $$ Pizza has good quality and taste $$ Has a pizza with beer pitcher special $$ Free Delivery
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