DeClemente's on Market Street will close its doors this weekend after 15 years in business.
Curt DeClemente, owner of the Italian-style restaurant and deli, says it's time to move on, though he says it's bittersweet.
"It's been a great run, we've done business for many years," he said. "But there's still part of me left in that building - it's emotional."
DeClemente moved from Waterloo to the Corning area with his wife and two daughters in 1986. He took on jobs at various other restaurants until he opened the Epicurean Cafe in the Baron Steuben building in 1994 - 20 years ago this winter.
DeClemente started out at the Epicurean Cafe with just himself and two others. Though understaffed, the business was busy from the start, he said.
"Immediately, from day one, it just never let up," he said. "I was working from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 5 or 6 days a week. It was just incredible."
The Epicurean Cafe offered something new to the Corning area - a New York deli-style restaurant with a metropolitan feel. The restaurant offered cuisine taught to DeClemente by his grandmother.
"When I was a child, my grandmother was just always cooking," he said. "She was a little Italian lady and I was always interested in what she was doing, so she basically taught me."
Nearly five years later, DeClemente moved his restaurant to its home for the last 15 years - 30 W. Market St. - under the new name, DeClemente's.
The eatery has cultivated quite a following during its years on Market Street. A popular lunchtime spot for those who work in Corning, the atmosphere provides a much-needed escape from a hectic workday, regulars say.
"This is my go-to place," said Liz Hirsch, who works in Corning. She's been coming to DeClemente's for lunch at least once a week for the past 7 years. "I'm really going to miss this place."
Michelle Peters of Corning, another regular who has been eating at DeClemente's for 12 years, says she's relieved that DeClemente's other restaurant, DC2 at the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport, along with his catering business, will remain open.
"You get a craving for the food here," she said.
The restaurant's customers aren't the only ones who will miss the Market Street establishment.
Marcia Cunningham of Corning has been a cook at DeClemente's for seven years and says that she'll miss the people the most.
"I'm going to miss the familiar faces that come in everyday off of Market Street," she said.
DeClemente is working on expanding his DC2 restaurant menu to mimic that of DeClemente's.
"It's only 12 minutes away," he said. "We're making an attempt to service Corning just as we did on Market Street with deliveries and catering."
DeClemente attributes his success to a love for the food industry and his loyal customers over the years.
"There have been so many people that have come across our path that turned out to be wonderful customers and friends," DeClemente said. "The connections I've made on Market Street - that's what I'm truly going to miss."
The building has been leased by Andrew and Nicole Cleary, who are siblings.
Renovations will begin soon in preparation for the Cleary's new restaurant, Little Boomers' Burrito Bar.
The Clearys are the children of Karen Cleary and the late Fran "Boomer" Cleary, who owned Boomer's, Boomer's Bistro and Boomer's Catering.