Published Sept. 30, 2021
By JOSH PAVLOFF
Local restaurant owner Anthony Carnazzo is much like a walnut. On the outside, when he first meets the eye, he appears stern, intimidating, rugged. Positioned with confidence, he stands six feet and one inch tall, wearing well-earned worn boots and blue jeans with a Carhartt flannel and vest to pair well with his resilient persona. Much like a walnut, however, one will quickly learn that beyond his hard shell, Carnazzo has a tender and sensitive heart and works hard to enrich the lives of those in the Carmel community in the form of his restaurant, Stationӕry.
Since the establishment of Stationӕry, Carnazzo has put unimaginable time and effort into resisting the typical nature of a restaurant, and instead focusing on the creation of an inclusive environment for the people of the Carmel community.
“Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants locally focus first on tourists before our locals,” Carnazzo says, “but I’ve felt that this community needed a place that they could call their own.”
The University of California, Davis, graduate’s effort in doing so does not go unnoticed by those who visit Stationӕry and experience its atmosphere.
“Every time I step into Stationӕry, I’m always greeted with a smile, and some employees even know me by name,” says Bibiana Silva, a member of the Carmel community and regular customer of Carnazzo. “It’s a welcoming and kind staff that shines through quite well.”
Being a father of three young children, Carnazzo explains that he’s had firsthand experience in not feeling welcomed at a restaurant, and he strives to ensure that other families don’t have to feel this way.
“I put a big stack of highchairs at the front door, and the reason for that is very intentional,” says Carnazzo. “Most restaurant owners would hide those, but what I’m saying is ‘Hey mom, hey dad, we’re really happy to have young families here. It’s okay if your kid screams a little bit and makes a little mess. We’ll take care of it, but you’re welcome here.’”
The experienced restaurant worker and bartender’s passion in creating a communal based culture for his restaurant is certainly executed with action, not just thoughts and ideas.
“Anthony strives to get to know his customers,” says Aiden Slade, a current employee of Carnazzo’s. “I constantly see him talking up a storm to the majority of the people that come through the restaurant. He always makes sure the customers feel welcomed and that they have an above and beyond dining experience.”
In addition to continuing the practice of things that work well, Carnazzo is constantly thinking of ways to give back to the community because, in his mind, there is always something more that he can do.
“I want to sponsor a little league team,” Carnazzo says. “I love anything that’s a throwback hometown reference, such as sponsoring a little league team, putting an ad in the local high school newspaper and, as I’m currently doing, supporting the Carmel Women’s Foundation.”
Selflessness is one of the early riser’s innumerable qualities that sets him apart from other restaurant owners who typically work in the field for the payday.
“I would describe Anthony’s role in the Carmel community as outgoing,” says Jackson Dutel, a former employee of Carnazzo’s. “Whether it be attending to the needs of his customers or his employees, he is always there and always going out of his way to boost others.”
A specific characteristic of the coffee connoisseur that is well-deserving of admiration, as it is something that is uncommonly seen in today’s world, is his ability to connect with anyone who walks through his door, regardless of their background or appearance.
“In a restaurant, you receive people just as they are,” Carnazzo says. “It’s rich, poor, all different colors and backgrounds and ethnicities and perspectives, and I feel like it’s a superpower to sincerely connect with any guest that comes through the door.”
Not only does Anthony Carnazzo serve as an admirable member of the Carmel community, both through action and word, he does so with a smile on his face, a direct reflection of why he does what he does, to not only welcome those who visit the beautiful area of Carmel, California, but to establish a place that the community can call home.