Communities at Work: A history in the industry

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Kris and Henry Arcolesse opened their restaurant, Ma Famiglia, in Meeker in the same location Kris’ family operated Mama Mazzola’s more than 20 years ago. The couple combined their service industry backgrounds to open multiple restaurants in Steamboat Springs before retiring from the industry eight years ago, but later felt a calling to get back to their restaurant roots.

This edition of Communities at Work focuses on a friendly establishment owned and operated by a couple whose roots run deep in Northwest Colorado’s restaurant industry.

Henry Arcolesse moved to Steamboat Springs and opened up Cugino’s Pizzeria with his cousin in the early 1980s, when he met his wife, Kris Mazzola, whose parents started Mazzolas Italian Restaurant, also in Steamboat Springs.

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Henry Arcolesse prepares chicken in parmesan cheese breading before the dinner rush May 12 at Ma Famiglia in Meeker. The preparations were for a Tuscan chicken dish, which was the special of the night.

The two went on to open Pisa’s Pizza & Pasta in Oak Creek and Steamboat Springs, and after nearly 20 years of opening, operating and selling restaurants, they took to a motor-home retirement, touring the southwest U.S.

They returned to Meeker to attend a friend’s wedding when they were told that the building Kris’ parents had operated another restaurant, Mama Mazzolas, which closed its doors in 1982, was available.

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Pam Newman, of Byers, makes herself a plate from the salad bar May 12 at Ma Famiglia. The salad bar is a popular feature during the warmer months as customers look for lighter lunches.

The two decided the Meeker market was calling, and they opened Ma Famiglia in August 2005.

The restaurant offers traditional Italian food along with burgers, steaks, sandwiches and Mexican meals, and a soup and salad bar.

Ma Famiglia is located at 410 Market St., in Meeker.

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