There are a number of things that can lead a restaurant to success: a great chef, stunning interiors, friendly staff… Combine all three elements with a chef’s 20-year experience of preparing authentic and delicious Italian dishes, and you get the culinary wonder that is Volare.Having recently celebrated their first anniversary since opening in October 2012, executive chef Salvo Gaglio and co-owner Chris Salerno have found the secret to making their Revere restaurant successful: Keep it simple, keep it good and keep enjoying life. And judging by the extremely high return rate of their patrons, they’ve managed to combine the three elements to perfection.
“It’s classic Italian cuisine, with a local New England angle,” says chef Gaglio, who took many of his native Sicily’s dishes and added them to a menu that spans the whole of Italian regional specialties: From the southern-inspired arancini and bruschetta sicula, to typical northern dishes such as ossobuco or pasta alla bolognese. The chef’s special, though, is the Picchiu Pacchiu, a dish made in Palermo, where he dreamed of one day becoming a professional trumpet player.
“I used to work in a rotisserie back home, doing a bit of everything, but I never thought I’d end up becoming a chef,” says Salvo. But that’s exactly what happened a short while after he left his Sicilian hometown of Montelepre, near Palermo, to pursue a musical career in the United States.
“I came in 1993 to perfect my trumpet playing skills,” he recalls. Instead, he ended up falling in love with culinary art after accepting a ‘pizzaiolo’ job in East Boston.
Salvo turned out to be a natural, infusing his musical creativity into a wide range of dishes from all over Italy. “My brother was studying in Erice, Sicily, to become a chef at the time, so he would send me books. I dove into them and emerged even more creative.”
Between then and when Volare opened in 2012, Salvo worked in several different restaurants, including in downtown Boston’s Westin and Taj hotels. But over all this time, Salvo never seemed to find the perfect fit. “That’s all changed now,” he says. “I want to retire here!”
That feeling comes from the instant friendship that was struck with East Boston native Chris Salerno, who partnered with Cecilia Maya to open the restaurant in Revere.“The whole thing is the luckiest mistake of my life,” says Chris.
“I was never in the restaurant business before and I didn’t know Salvo, although we had many friends in common.”
The two met when it came time to pick an executive chef for Volare. “Salvo showed up and prepared some amazing dishes: rigatoni with sausage, frutti di mare, and even chicken parmigiana.”
There was no question who would be taking over the kitchen at Volare.
Several months later, the restaurant finally opened at 388 Broadway, thanks also to the help of Vinnie Graziani (who first introduced Salvo and Chris), Michael Carletti and Giovanni Talluto. By the end of their first weekend of operations, Salvo, Chris, Michael and Giovanni gathered in the tiny office at the back of the restaurant and just smiled.
“We all hugged each other,” recalls Salvo. “Right then and there, I knew we were going to make it,” he says.
“We want to thank the city of Revere and all the people who have supported us along the way,” adds Chris.
Now the restaurant has become one of the more exclusive go-to spots in the Greater Boston area, open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and brunch served on Sundays starting at 10 a.m.
“Every day, it’s like being with family,” says Chris. And that’s exactly why people keep coming back for more.