A Pudgie's Pizza, Pasta and Subs store is expected to open soon on the Vestal Parkway. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

A well-known name in the regional pizza game is opening a new operation in Broome County.

A Pudgie's Pizza, Pasta and Subs is expected to open in Vestal early next year.

Erik Michalko said he believes the store at 228 Vestal Parkway East could be operating sometime in January.

Michalko is a franchise operator for Broome County's only other Pudgie's restaurant, located on Robinson Street on Binghamton's East Side.

Michalko said he opened the Binghamton store in 2009. He first got acquainted with Pudgie's when he started working at a location on Elmira's South Side when he was 16.

Michalko acquired the Vestal Parkway site just east of Clayton Avenue in late August. The building most recently housed a Best Bagels in Town outlet, which closed early this year. It previously was home to a Burger King restaurant.

The parking lot was repaved a few weeks ago and new equipment is being installed in the building. A new exterior sign was erected last Wednesday.

Hiring for the new Pudgie's Pizza operation is expected to start in the next week or two. Michalko said he's not certain how many people will be employed at the new store. He said the existing operation has between 20 and 25 workers, most of whom are part-time.

Michalko said the Vestal store plans to deliver menu items within about five miles of the site.

Pudgie's Pizza once had several Broome County stores but those original sites were closed.

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