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Friday, March 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Sam Pontillo reportedly working on deal to reopen family pizzeria

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's

A bit of confirmation of rumors that Sam Pontillo is working on a deal to reopen the legendary pizzeria on East Main Street came out of the Genesee County Economic Development Center today.

Pontillo's potential landlord, BP Properties out of Rochester, was granted a $6,875 property-tax exemption by the GCEDC.

GCEDC officials said BP Properties and Sam Pontillo are trying to secure refinancing on $500,000 in debt left over from the previous operation.

(via WBTA)


Friday, February 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Could uncovered Pontillo's neon be a sign of what's to come?

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's


Covered by a giant tarp because business signs cannot appear on the outside of buildings that are for sale, according to city code, the neon-lit Pontillo's Pizzeria sign once again hangs proudly from the building at 500 E. Main St., Batavia.

Could it be a sign that Sam Pontillo is getting close to reopening the legendary restaurant? We still haven't heard from Sam or building owner Thomas Masachi about what's going on there, but crews continue to work inside the building.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Could Pontillo's in Batavia soon be a Pontillo's again?

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's

What's up with Pontillo's? I get asked that question nearly every day. We've all seen the work crews there.

What a couple other people have seen is Sam Pontillo at the 500 E. Main St., Batavia, location.

Over the past two weeks I've called Sam Pontillo several times. I've left a few messages. I have not heard back from him.

I've also called the property owner, Thomas Masaschi, and left messages. No return call.

Admittedly, third hand, I've heard that another restaurant owner tried to buy the old Pontillo's sign and was told it wasn't for sale -- that there were plans for it.

So at this point, we only have rumors and speculation, but for all the people who keep asking me what's going on, that's the only answer I can give at this point.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Pontillo's location sold to real estate developer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's

A Rochester-based real estate developer has acquired the old Pontillo's building at 500 E. Main St., Batavia.

Thomas Masachi said today that he isn't ready yet -- perhaps next week -- to discuss the plans he and his partners have for the location. 

Masachi, who is in the RIT Hall of Fame for his success in hockey and lacrosse, would not discuss the price he paid for the location, and that information has not yet become publicly available.

One of Western New York's most legendary pizzerias, Pontillo's closed in November 2008 after falling behind more than $112,000 in its taxes. John Pontillo made an attempt to buy the business and location out of probate, but he said his offers were rejected. The property was then sold at auction to a bank in Rochester, which in turn sold the property to Masachi.

For his part, John Pontillo is continuing to work on a plan to open a new pizzeria in Batavia. Reached yesterday, he said he hasn't settled on a location yet.

Meanwhile, Sam Pontillo continues to operate a Pontillo's Pizzeria in Le Roy on Main Street.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Report of portion of Pontillo's roof has blown off

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Pontillo's, weather

Batavia Police are responding to a report that part of the roof of Pontillo's has blown off and is currently traveling eastbound on Main Street.

UPDATE: A little while ago, a Batavia Police officer reported the roof portion was recovered and returned to the Pontillo's property.

Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm

John Pontillo unsure why his offers to reopen family restaurant have been rejected

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's

John Pontillo says he has tried doing everything he can to save Pontillo's on East Main Street in Batavia.

So far, all of his offers to buy the building and the business have been rejected. He doesn't know why.

"I offered a solution that gave the family business a chance to reopen and keep it in the family," John Pontillo said this afternoon. "It could be open right now. I made an offer that would have allowed us to take care of all our creditors. Bankers looked at it and real estate people looked at it and business people looked at it and all said, 'John, this is a good offer.'

"It's very frustrating. I don't know why it was rejected."

The landmark Pontillo's, which Sam Pontillo founded in 1947, shut down in November, with a sign appearing in the parking lot saying it was closed for remodeling. It turned out, however, that the business owed more than $112,000 in back taxes.

The brothers were soon in court trying to settle estate and debt issues and who would run the business.

And the fate of Pontillo's has been tied up in court since.

"We all grew up in this business," John said. "I would like to keep it in the family."

A for-sale sign appeared on Pontillo's yesterday about 4 p.m., but John is skeptical that the business and building can be sold before creditors foreclose on the property. He fears if his offer isn't accepted before foreclosure, there will be no more Pontillo's in Batavia -- not the family business his parents nutured into a regionally renowned destination for pizza and pasta.

As local restaurateur Sean Valdes noted in a comment yesterday, "This will be a hard building to sell as a restaurant. The overhead will be a challenge."

We have a call into Sam Pontillo seeking his comment on the situation.

Friday, September 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm

For-sale sign posted on Pontillo's in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pontillo's


This is a reader-submitted photo of a for-sale sign on the Pontillo's building on E. Main Street in Batavia. A caller informs us the sign was placed on the building at 4 p.m. We're working on getting more information.

Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 9:49 am

Batavia businessman charged with writing bad checks

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, crime, Pontillo's

Paul Pontillo, of Pontillo's Pizza in Batavia, is accused of writing bad checks from a business account.

The alleged bad checks were written in 2008.

The 53-year-old Pontillo was arraigned in City of Batavia Court yesterday and released on his own recognizance.


Monday, February 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Pontillo brother wants his name cleared of blame for tax problem

post by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, downtown, Pontillo's, restaurants

Many of us been have wondering about the fate of the Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia ever since the doors closed in November, followed soon after by the news that the business owes more than $112,000 in back state taxes. Few could argue that they had one of the best lunch buffets around.

Owner Sam Pontillo has been assuring people all along that the restaurant would open up again... soon... even if he had to find some other location in the city to do it. Initially, Sam told the Daily News that the restaurant was closing down for renovations and would re-open in a couple weeks. Of course, that didn't come to pass, and in the latest article in the Daily, he's quoted as saying: "people will be able to get a Pontillo's pizza in Batavia by April 1."

Sam's brother John Pontillo spoke with us by phone this afternoon. John is currently living and working at a country club in Minnesota, where he has been since his unceremonious dismissal from the family business by his two brothers, Sam and Paul, around this time last year.

Most of you will recognize the name John from what you have read in the Daily's coverage. Most recently, for example, Sam spoke of John when he told Joanne Beck that he "had to pay the tab of his brothers' neglect."

"They left an unpaid tab. Once again, I'm footing the bill," he said Thursday.

Those taxes were the responsibility of siblings John and Paul, who ran the Batavia Pontillo's Pizza & Pasta until Sam Pontillo closed it in early November, Sam said. He bought his current Le Roy Pontillo's site in 2007.

In every article in the Daily News, John has been accused by his brother Sam of being responsible for "neglecting" the finances and failing to pay the taxes for the business in Batavia. Sam also told the newspaper that he had no foreknowledge of the unpaid taxes.

That's just not true, John told us today. Sam knew about the tax problems all along, and this wasn't the first time that it happened, he said.

Back in 2006, both restaurants, in LeRoy and Batavia, were cited by the state for owing back taxes in excess of $350,000. At that time, Sam was in charge of all the operations, says John. "He was president of both locations."

Later on in 2006, it was decided that the Batavia and LeRoy locations would be incorporated seperately as Sam's Tomato Pies and LeRoy Dough Boys, respectively. On the articles of incorporation for the LeRoy restaurant, Sam is listed as owner and as president. His brother Paul is listed as secretary. As for the Batavia restaurant, Sam's mother, Elizabeth, is listed as owner, Sam as secretary and Paul as president.

John is nowhere named as an officer of either company. He insists that he was only ever a paid employee like everyone else who worked there. That he was fired so precipitously last February only attests to that.

"They say that it happened on my watch," said John. "I was never an officer of the company. I was just an hourly employee. That's all I ever was."

John could not comment in detail due to the pending litigation between the brothers to determine who will take over the Batavia restaurant. They are also waiting to execute the will of their mother, Elizabeth, which could help decide some of the details of who owns the rights to the name: Pontillo's.

John did say, however, that the brothers need to move fast to come to an agreement, because the mortgage company, which has not been paid since Novemeber, could foreclose on the property by the end of the month.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 1:38 am

Former Pontillo's Batavia Employee

post by Jennifer Richenberg in Pontillo's

This announcement is for all former Pontillo's Batavia employees.  It has come to my attention that Pontillo's LeRoy is giving false information about obtaining your W2 forms.   

Sam and Paul Pontillo are corporate officers of Pontillo's Batavia and are responsible for the distribution of W2 forms.  However, they have not fulfilled this responsiblity.  When former employees call regarding their W2 forms the information the LeRoy Pontillo's gives them is false, at least part of the information.  I'm not sure if the information given regarding Paul Pontillo's attorney will be helpful.  However, I have found some information that will be.

Because the officers of Pontillo's Batavia have made no attempt to process or distibute W2 forms former employees will have to file a complaint with the IRS.  This complaint cannot be made before February 16th.  After this date you should file a complaint with the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040.  You will need to provide some basic information for the IRS representative.  Former employees will need personal information such as name, address, phone number, and social security number.  You will also need an estimate of the wages you earned, the federal tax withheld, Social Security tax withheld, and the period you worked for that employer.  Employer information is also required.  I have provided this for you.

Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria

500 East Main Street

Batavia, NY 14020

(585) 343-3303 or (585) 768-6660

Employer Identification # 16-1364974

Good Luck!


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