CARMEL, N.Y. -- Just a stone's throw from the Putnam-Dutchess border, across the street from Kent Elementary School sits a cozy little Italian restaurant that many locals will say is their favorite.
Volare Restaurant and Pizzeria - owned and operated by the Mazzotta family - has been a presence in Lake Carmel since opening its doors in 1978.
The restaurant - now run by the three grown Mazzotta brothers (Dino, Alex, and Alfredo) who worked there as kids - did give the neighborhood a scare when it was sold in 2005, with Dino Mazzotta's dad ready to retire.
But in May of 2013, the Volare name once again appeared on the restaurant - much to the delight of longtime loyal customers who missed the restaurant's signature marinara sauce, pizza, and home style entrees.
"It was a nice business opportunity," Dino Mazzotta said of he and his brothers reopening the restaurant. "I also had a catering business on the side and needed a full kitchen. Then there was some of the nostalgia... we knew with my father - who was successful there - that we could replicate that."
Former customers from the area were thrilled to see their old favorite back in business - with the same food they hadn't tasted in years.
"I remember one guy who saw the sign, and he came in and said - 'you have no idea how much you just made my day' - then he drove home to Mahopac, got his wife and drove back for dinner," Mazzotta recalled. "Once word spread we were back, we started seeing people from the first time around. They were overwhelmingly happy to see us back."
The restaurant specializes in southern Italian fare, everything is homemade, with mom & dad doing plenty of cooking and preparing as well.
"We've been coming in for 30 years," said Katherine Curtiss, who was enjoying a meal with family when Daily Voice visited. "This place is really invested in the community. It was great to get them back... and we have our own specials and things we get, but the food is always consistently good."
All three brothers work full time - Dino has been a social studies teacher at George Fisher Middle School for 15 years, Alex has been an attorney in Putnam for 15years, and Fred is a 16-year art teacher in Brewster - so the restaurant also brings the family together.
"We wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't that way," Mazzotta said. "Sometimes it gets pretty crazy busy, but at least when we're there we can see each other.
"We're still having a good time together - depending on the day," Mazzotta joked, "but everything is going well, and as far as I know we're not going anywhere soon."
Volare Restaurant and Pizzeria is located at 1100 Rt. 52 in Lake Carmel, and can be reached at 845-225-4695. More info on their website can be found here .