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Great Eats: Little Boomers' Burrito Bar

Isn't it fun to make tacos at home? Cutting and chopping, using every single bowl you own, having all the ingredients slopped across the table? And they never taste the way you remember? Yes, good times.

Siblings Andrew and Nicole Cleary were raised in Corning restaurant royalty. Grandfather Charlie "Pudgie" Cleary opened the original Pudgies,
and Mom and Dad, Karen and Fran Cleary, had Boomer's, Boomer's Bistro, and Boomer's Catering for years. The next generation was looking for a way to combine that long tradition with a more modern offering that serves up "fast, good food."

The product of that aspiration opened two years ago on Market Street with Little Boomers' Burrito Bar, a burrito variety store of sorts. A blackboard spans the wall behind the long counter, urging you to check out "the goods" and "pick your own destiny." That destiny is framed by these choices: burrito, rice bowl, salad, tacos, nachos, or quesadillas. The rest of the journey is up to you, as the counterman will customize any of the above with hefty helpings of meat and veggies and "goods" (pico de gallo and salsa and quacamole and queso among them).

Andrew smiles when he talks about his clientele. "Business people from Market Street, high school kids, visitors from around the world—you never know who will be in here."

The genetic material that links families together carries the food DNA in strong numbers in Andrew, who handles the operational side of things while sister Nicole serves as Business Manager. Beyond the two of them, the family is still actively involved in the creative side of things, as evidenced by a recent late-night inspiration that took hold of Andrew.

"I wasn't thrilled with our marinade, and that is such a critical part of the flavor with the beef and chicken. I couldn't sleep one night and finally, at 1 a.m., it came to me what we needed to do. So there I was at Wegman's, in the middle of the night, and calling the rest of the family to say, 'get over here, we need to make this while the thought is still in my head!'"

Family is the theme of the colorful wall mural, based on the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead. Various members of the Cleary family are depicted, including Dad, the late Fran "Boomer" Cleary, manning the grill in the portrait's center. Yes, they are skeletons, but they are cheerful skeletons! Even the iconic Corning Gaffer has been stripped to his bones.

Fast food is not supposed to be good for you, and good food is supposed to take a long time, so Little Boomers tilts both of those standards on their sides and offers food that can fit into a lunch timetable and a healthy diet.

Rejoice at another successful Cleary Family enterprise—bones and all.

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