One of the best Italian restaurants in the Southwest plans to open in Las Cruces, further fueling the revamping of the Downtown area.
"Forghedaboutit Authentic NY Italian" in Deming has customers driving 100 miles from El Paso to get a piece of its famous pizza pie.
"People come from Las Cruces, Silver City, El Paso, Arizona, Lordsburg -- and Silver City. They come everyday and go right back home," said owner Bob Yacone, "The reason: they want to eat at Forghedaboutit Pizza. And it's not just pizza. It's a lot of other Italian dishes."
The restaurant recently won the Traditional Division of the International Championship Pizza Competition. In a competition involving pizzas from 40 different countries, Forghedaboutit won 2nd place in the US and 4th in the world.
Ingredients, like the pepperonis and bread, are shipped from the East Coast. The restaurant's sauce is homemade every day.
Yacone said he and his wife Kim started the restaurant out of their kitchen when they moved to Deming four years ago. Now he said his plan is to open a second location in Las Cruces by the end of the year.
Las Cruces Economic Developer Phillip San Fillipo said now is the right time for business to open in downtown Las Cruces. "Most importantly, any town needs a center and focus and that's what we're trying to build," said San Fillipo.
The Yacones have been in negotiations with a developer the past eight months with the hope of becoming the premiere restaurant in Downtown Las Cruces.
"It really is an important part that they have a signature restaurant Downtown. Something that's family orietented, that'll draw people," Bob Yacone said.
"It's not just the food. It's the experience that you get when you come into Forghedaboutit," Kim Yacone said, "We treat everybody like family. I try to remember everybody's name."