Clarksville, TN – You could argue that Camacho’s Famous, a recently opened Chicago-style pizza place located on highway 76, was ‘famous’ before it even opened.
Andrew and Marie Duenas made their mark on Clarksville’s food scene in a very unusual way.
“I was doing pizza out of the house during COVID-19,” Andrew Duenas said. “One day we thought we would see how Clarksville felt about Chicago-style pizza. It was a weird time, with COVID-19, and all the isolation. Our neighborhood was doing a neighborhood yard sale, so we decided to make some samples, give them away, and see what everyone thought. We wanted to see if they even knew what Chicago-style pizza was.”
Duenas said the unorthodox business model didn’t exactly blow up at first.
“People were looking at what we were selling, and they were looking at us like we were crazy,” Duenas said. “I was just some random guy with a little toaster oven. Then, one woman grabbed a piece and shared her experience online. After a few weeks, I started getting a lot of requests from people wanting to buy our pizza.”
Duenas found himself free every Wednesday, around noon. So he started making that his order-taking time.
“That ended up becoming what was known as the pizza lottery,” Duenas said. “People would set their alarms. It was crazy. Within a minute or two, I was maxed out for weekend orders.”
Duenas’ love for Chicago pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago-style hot dogs came from his father.
“My dad was born and raised in Chicago,” Duenas said. “For a while, he had a restaurant called Joe & Tony’s in California. That’s where I grew up.”
Duenas’ dream of opening his own restaurant came true in late Spring of 2022.
“We opened, officially, at the end of May,” Duenas said. “We started serving the public at the beginning of June.”
The menu features Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago-style dogs, and other popular items, including meatballs, mozzarella sticks, breaded cheese ravioli, salads, desserts, and more. But, the big draw is the pizza.
“Our thin crust is thinner than most, it’s almost like a cracker crust,” Duenas said. “Our deep dish is very thick. Ours is 2 inches thick. So far, the reviews have been great. The one negative that we’re working on, is the timing of the deep dish pizzas. It takes an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes, especially on a busy Friday night, to get that made to order and out to the customer.”
Duenas says that aside from space concerns, these very thick deep-dish pizzas can take up to 40 minutes in the oven.
“During the week, the times are much faster than that,” Duenas said. “We’re definitely known for both styles of pizza. Other than that, we do homemade Italian beef and our own meatballs, all of that is made in-house from our own special recipes. We also make our own au jus. If you’ve ever been to Portillo’s and had their Italian beef, we like to compare it with that. So, we recommend giving that sandwich a try, it’s one of our best sellers.
Honestly, our appetizers are really popular. Our fries are really good. We have a pizza puff that we offer, and our fried ravioli is really popular.”
Duenas says the house-made dough and sauce seem to be key to Camacho’s success so far.
Camacho’s Famous also offers beer on tap, Yuengling, Michelob, Bud Light, Modelo, and more.
“Fridays are probably the busiest days at the restaurant, and you can expect an hour wait for a deep dish,” Duenas said. “We tell our customers to be prepared for an hour wait, but remember that we have great appetizers to hold you over. We also play great music, and we have beer, and games on the TVs. It’s definitely a fun environment while you wait.
“Marie and I own the place, and we’re both here, almost every day. If you’re here, and you want to see us, just ask and we’ll try to come out and say hello.
“Our goal is to be open during the week from 11:00am – 9:00pm, but like everyone, we’re having a hard time staffing. We will be expanding our hours after the holidays, so, please keep an eye on our website or social media, and give us a try.”