Our History

In the summer of 1978, Denis Lucarelli took a leap of faith in leaving his family-owned business, Roseland Apizza of Derby, Connecticut, to follow his own dreams of opening a hot dog stand in Southbury.  Working closely with his four siblings, Gary, “Skinny”, Adele, Marisa and his late parents, Bocci & Lina, pizza had been the only business he had ever known, as Roseland has been a staple of the valley since 1935.  But Denis had his own dreams, branched out on his own and opened the then-named Cedar Hollow Snack & Dairy on July 1st, 1978.

Denis, known lovingly by his family as “Denmo”, a moniker that began with his Italian speaking parents & grandparents, with broken-English accents turning Denis into “Den-a-mo”, changed the name in the early 1980’s to reflect his proud nickname and “Denmo’s Famous Snack & Dairy” was officially born.  In 1981, Denmo married Marilyn (Culmo, also of Derby, CT) and had a baby girl, Chloe, in 1990.

In the beginning, Cedar Hollow was known solely for their split and charred famous Hummels hot dogs, a local favorite made in nearby New Haven, CT, but as time went on, Denmo and Marilyn created a homemade chili recipe and expanded their menu.  As the business grew year after year, Denmo added freshly breaded seafood, seasonal homemade soups, sandwiches, and delicious local ice cream & shakes.

Today, Denmo, Marilyn & Chloe work together to keep the restaurant a favorite and a desired destination for locals & out-of-towners alike.  And as Denmo & Marilyn have always dreamed, they have passed the baton to Chloe to keep their years of hard work and legacy alive in keeping Denmo’s a part of the Southbury community for generations to come.   It has been an honor and the joy of the Lucarelli family to serve Southbury and its community for close to 40 years and are looking forward to 40 more.