A change in ownership marks a new era for Carelli’s in Craig
A Craig landmark for more than 20 years, Carelli’s Italian restaurant began a new era Dec. 23 when it was purchased by Anthony and Kim Teeter.
The Teeters aim to uphold the restaurant’s inviting atmosphere while bringing in a few fresh ideas based on Anthony’s cooking and food expertise along with his New York Italian heritage.
Born in the Bronx and raised in the suburbs of New York City, Anthony was surrounded by delicious Italian food. At a young age, he discovered a joy and creative talent in baking desserts.
At age 13, he got his first job as a dishwasher in a local restaurant. On his first night, he whipped together a cheesecake while on break from dish duty. When the owner sampled Anthony’s offering, he fired him immediately.
“The boss said, ‘You’re fired,’ and then he made me the salad and dessert chef,” Anthony recalled with a laugh.
At 18 years old he left high school, joined the Navy and spent four years as a cook on the aircraft carrier, USS Midway. After the Navy, Anthony spent several years in the South Pacific, took up acting, found work in films and was soon rubbing elbows with bigshot Hollywood actors of the 1980s.
In 1989, he returned to New York City and became a police officer, following in the footsteps of his father. After a 22-year career, he retired as a sergeant, and eventually Anthony and Kim looked to Craig for a change of pace and a chance to live in the West.
Already well acquainted with Craig from years of visiting family who had moved to the area in the 1960s, the Teeters arrived in Moffat County in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After a stint as a teacher at the MCHS alternative school, he and Kim noticed Carelli’s was up for sale.
The couple discussed the opportunity to buy the restaurant at 465 Yampa Ave. and ultimately felt it was a good fit for their talents and experience, along with the desire to keep a long-standing restaurant from shutting its doors.
“I never thought we would be in this position,” Anthony said. “It’s rewarding to be able to help people, to help the community. We’re part of this community, and we have to help. We made this place our home.”
Anthony’s goals involve keeping the already popular menu while making some changes to ingredients such as the flour, bringing in San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of cheeses and working to locally source his proteins.
Anthony has already introduced cannolis for dessert and will also tweak a variety of the main sauces based on his expertise.
The Teeters are also eyeing a few changes to the decor that will eventually celebrate the history and culture of Northwest Colorado.
To start, the hundreds of dollar bills pinned to the ceiling will be taken down and put in a bin for a guessing contest to raise money for the Moffat County High School drama and music departments.
“They need funding, too” Teeter said.
Helping to make a smooth transition, the entire workforce has remained through the change in ownership. Head chef Mark Sullivan and newly minted manager Cori Soren have proved invaluable in helping the Teeters learn the nuts and bolts of owning and managing a restaurant.
While continuing Carelli’s reputation as a fine restaurant and a lively locale to have fun with friends, the Teeters will eventually add their signature creative touch to one of Craig’s most popular eateries.
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