Gaetano Mascolo never lost two memories from his childhood: the smell and taste of his mother’s cooking and playing the guitar with his father in a local neighborhood bistro named “La Dolce Vita.” Years later Mascolo, known to most at the “Guy” in “Toni and Guy Hair Salons,” decided to open a namesake restaurant where he and the neighbors could “enjoy a favorite pasta with a little wine.”

“We believe in treating people the way we like to be treated,” says partner Edward Stanton. Stanton and a third partner, Bradley Woy, have been hard at work setting up next month’s “grand opening” party. (See “News and Notes” for details.) “It’s been two-and-a-half years,” laughs Stanton. “We’re ready to stop being a ‘well kept secret.’”

The theme of the décor and the food at La Dolce Vita is “An Italian Love Story.” Walls display photographs of Mascolo’s mother and father, and the dishes served are made with the family’s southern Italian recipes, re-created “by taste and smell.” Stanton’s wife, Xarxe, provided such romantic touches as rose petals in the fountains and on ice in the bathrooms. Muralsof Italy line the walkway portion of the restaurant and the woodburning oven is open to the main dining room, wafting pizza smells about.

Dishes include garlic crab claws, homemade soups, and mix-and-match pastas and sauces such as cream proscuitto and chicken braciole. In keeping with the restaurant name — la dolce vita means “the sweet life — dessert offerings are crème brulee, tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake and Italian wedding cake.

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