Local Hero Profile: The Wagon Wheel
Carolann Zaccara, owner of the Wagon Wheel, grew up in the restaurant industry. Her parents owned several restaurants in Connecticut, and Carolann went to culinary school to study pastry arts. She opened the Wagon Wheel shortly after moving to Massachusetts. Carolann wears many different hats in her role here: she preps food, designs the menu, and manages the restaurant alongside her son. The menu is eclectic and changes with what’s available locally throughout the seasons. Carolann’s goals are to keep the Wagon Wheel a family owned business and to continue making 90% of everything they serve from scratch. “For us, buying local is a no-brainer!” she says.
The Wagon Wheel’s eclectic decor:
Feast your eyes upon a unique collection of paint-by-numbers paintings, porcelain figurines, a giant rocket ship shaped gumball machine and various other knick-knacks and collectables displayed around the Wagon Wheel. Carolann has been collecting for years and proudly displays her treasures on every inch of wall space in the restaurant.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Carolann loves getting to experiment in the kitchen. She particularly enjoys developing new ice cream varieties, including local flavors like Blueberry Lemon and Colrain Maple Cream; all twenty varieties are made from scratch!
What inspires you to buy local?
“Local products are better quality, they help the local economy, they are healthier, and they require less fuel to transport.”
Did you know?
The Wagon Wheel Restaurant started out as a food trailer at a flea market in Connecticut. One time a musician came in and performed the song “Wagon Wheel” for everyone, and that’s where they got the name.
The Wagon Wheel supports The Kitchen Garden
Farmers: Caroline Pam and Tim Wilcox
Story: Caroline and Tim’s first farm sprouted on one acre of rented land in Hadley, where they grew “unusual and specialty vegetables” they enjoyed cooking with but couldn’t find in the area. Today they farm on fifty acres in Sunderland, and their commitment to delicious, nutritious, organic food has not wavered. “We’re always focused on the end goal of eating,” Caroline says. “Life wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t cook and eat the dishes we make every year with fresh garlic, herbs, and chilis. I think, this is life, and that’s why we do any of it.” Caroline and Tim know that food brings people together. Every day, the Kitchen Garden work crew eats lunch together at a long table. All fourteen members take a turn cooking for the rest of the group, cultivating relationships that help sustain them through hot summer days of hard work.