“A Pizza and More” is the culmination of several years of hard work and many sleepless nights. Owners, George Seibel, raised in the Bronx, and Anthony Caruso, hailing from Manhattan, have been friends since childhood. In 1977 George moved to Cortland to attend Cortland State. Tony decided to transfer to Cortland State in 1979 after hearing George recount stories about the many crazy parties and drunken escapades he’d experienced while attending Cortland. The two continued to be the best of friends while working together at a local pizzeria. While perfecting the skills they little knew would one day be their livelihood they often spoke of what an adventure it would be to open a pizzeria of their own. They also spoke of how the Squires Building, otherwise known as the Clocktower Building, would be the perfect location.
In 1988 Tony was still living in Cortland, while George had returned to NYC. During an afternoon stroll down Main St. with his family, Tony realized that their dream location was vacant. Remembering the great ideas they had years before, Tony phoned George and told him the good news. Without much hesitation George moved his family to Cortland and he and Tony set out to open A Pizza & More, their first pizzeria.
Superbowl Sunday 1989 would be the first day of business for the two city boys. They didn’t do much business that day, but enjoyed the game none the less. Over the next few months business grew steadily as A Pizza & More offered items that other area pizzerias did not. Using their ‘big city’ roots as inspiration, George and Tony introduced ‘small town’ Cortland to authentic NY style calzones. This was only the beginning for the pair of entrepreneurs.
As their Cortland location grew, more possibilities presented themselves. Over the next several years George and Tony opened six more stores of A Pizza & More in Central New York. The menus continued to grow, as did the excitement! Wanting to be more hands-on with their locations, George and Tony sold some of the stores, retaining two locations: Cortland and Homer.
On April 11, 2006 George and Tony received an early morning phone call from Brian, the Cortland store manager, saying the clocktower building was on fire. Both guys rushed downtown as fast as they could, only to be met by roadblocks and fire trucks. At first glance the fire didn’t seem too bad, most onlookers thought it would be under control and extinguished within a few minutes. As time passed, more and more flames began shooting from under the roof and from the blown-out windows, and it became obvious that the building was going to sustain massive damage.
George and Tony, although disturbed to see their first business going up in flames, were determined not to let the fire be the end of the Cortland location. A storefront two doors away sat vacant that day. This would be the new home of the Cortland location. They sprang into action contacting equipment suppliers, vendors and placing ads in the local newspaper assuring loyal A Pizza & More customers they would be back.
Within days they had transitioned into their new store and were beginning to see business pickup again. Although they were disappointed to learn the entire clocktower building would be demolished, the new store did have its benefits. It is a little more spacious, and came with a grill. Seeing potential for new menu items, George and Tony capitalized on this and added authentic Philly style cheese steaks to the menu. Just as with the calzones years earlier, this new menu item was met with great response from the locals. In the months after the fire business continued to grow, allowing for the addition of a breakfast menu as well. A Pizza & More Cortland is now the area’s only full service pizzeria.