ANGOLA — Angola now has its own healthy lifestyle food business, Lake It Easy Gourmet, which opened at 1801 N. Wayne St. near the end of July.
The store offers Italian, Mediterranean and American healthy food choices.
Marc Gazal said that although doing a food business in Angola is a competitive undertaking. Many of the restaurants in the area are fast food and very few of them offer healthy take-out choices, and that was the niche he and his wife, Aimee, were aiming at.
The Gazals said they came to Angola a few years ago because Aimee liked the lakes, and Marc had a job here with Veterans Affairs where he was helping to make houses accessible for handicapped individuals.
Then he and his wife decided to open their own diner and take-away because they loved living here, and they wanted to be part of the community. Both of them had been in the food business for their whole lives and missed some of the food choices they used to have.
“We are big foodies,” said Gazal.
Marc, who is originally from Pittsburgh, had his own restaurant there that was called JD Marco, and they offered a mix of Italian and American food, and a bar. At that time they did a lot of fundraisers, showers and catering.
After that Gazal worked with Levy Restaurants — a hospitality company based in Chicago, specializing in providing food and beverages to major entertainment and sports venues — and he was traveling around the country opening up sport food venues.
Aimee Gazal worked as a catering director for Parkhurst Dining in Pennsylvania. She also worked with various colleges — from Saint Vincent College to Chatham University. Her husband jokes that she even fed President George W. Bush, as he was once a commencement speaker at Saint Vincent.
Now, the couple, who said both have Italian roots, is trying to bring a little variety of food choices to Angola offering Italian, Mediterranean and American healthy food, such as salads, soups, freshly cooked meat, and sandwiches with freshly cut meat.
“We are trying to get people away from the fast food industry and eat healthier,” said Gazal.
Their most popular items include homemade meatballs with melted provolone, lasagna, and Cuban sandwich, which is made with fresh roasted pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles.
Monday through Friday Lake It Easy Gourmet also offers specials, from pepperoni rolls stuffed with pepperoni cheese Mondays to weekly changed wraps Friday when it is time to wrap up the work.
“We try to keep it fresh,” said Gazal.
The company has also just started catering — providing food for weddings, parties, and local community organizations, such as Steuben County Community Foundation. They also did lunches for RE/MAX, said Gazal, and they serve 70-80 people daily from summer lakers to Angola locals.
“It can be busy,” said Marc Gazal, who is doing the cooking.
Along with eggplants with parmigiano cheese, rooted vegetables, meatloaves, and potato salad, the place also offers some desserts, such as homemade cheesecake and turtle brownies with caramel and pecans, and cinnamon rolls.
They will be offering Thanksgiving meals for four to six people, and Lake It Easy will also prepare meals for Christmas and New Year’s.
Lake It Easy is an option for those who want to skip dinner cooking at home, said Gazal. He said he and his wife knew it was hard eating healthy on the go, and they wanted to provide that opportunity for Angola.
“It’s hard to eat healthy on the go, and we offer that,” said Gazal.