Villa Italia in Schenectady specializes in Italian pastries, gelato, soups, sandwiches, and of course, their scrumptious cakes, many of which are adorned with some of the most incredible decorations and displays you've ever laid eyes on.

They are a tight-knit, family-owned bakery that has been around for over 50 years, achieving what some (including myself) would call "legendary status," thanks to hard work and exquisite attention to detail, one pastry at a time.

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But this status isn't only because of what they serve, but how they serve.

Over the weekend, in a very touching tribute to the fallen U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing outside of the Kabul airport, the Mallozzi family reserved a special heroes table inside Villa Italia with a note that read:

"To Honor Our 12 Servicemembers Who Were Killed in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26th, 2021.  God Bless You Heroes."  A beautiful cake with silhouettes of 13 service members and the American Flag was placed next to the sign.

The message on the cake simply says, "Rest In Peace."

Photo: Villa Italia Facebook

Bobby Mallozzi, owner of Villa Italia explained that while the recent tragedy in Kabul may have happened thousands of miles away, the impact was felt close to home in Schenectady

"My nephew Joe," Mallozzi explains, "is a Marine...and he is in the same group that's on the ground in Afghanistan."

He's referring to Joe Mallozzi, who he tells me is a helicopter mechanic in the USMC.  And while the family doesn't talk much about specifics of where he is or what he's doing, Mallozzi explained why this tragedy impacted his family so much.

"Two of the 13 that were lost were from Camp Lejeune where Joey was stationed, so it hits pretty close to home," Mallozzi said.

And while Mallozzi is quick to point out how proud his family is of the young Marine, he can't help but feel the pain of what those families are enduring.  Many of those U.S. heroes who lost their lives were close in age to Joey, all under the age of 25.

So the reserved table sits in the corner of Villa Italia, an understatedly powerful tribute, and one that is sure to evoke strong feelings for anyone who has a chance to see it.  The Mallozzi family has always served the Capital Region with quality, style, and dignity and it appears as though much of that has rubbed off on their children, nieces, and nephews.

"Just trying to show as much respect for these young people as we can," Mallozzi said.

Photo: Villa Italia Facebook

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