Northshore Magazine

Northshore November 2019

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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NORTHSHOREMAG.COM 56 NOVEMBER 2019 I N - D E P T H Although they grew up in the North End, sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta—now co-owners of Boston's Nebo Cucina Enoteca— had zero experience cooking or even working in a restaurant until they opened the original Nebo in 2005. "My mum would always cook," explains Christine, 56. She is the youngest of three siblings, including Carla, 59, and James, 61, a successful businessman and entrepreneur. "There would always be five or six things on the stove every night. It was like a restaurant. You would hear the pasta flapping in the morning with the rolling pin. She would roll it and then lay it out on a bedsheet to dry. Every night we would have about 25 people at our house, including friends, who were considered aunts and uncles to us. It was constant. In fact, my mother gets very upset watching Mario Batali and other chefs cook on TV, because she'll say, 'What is the big deal? They're making ravioli and they've been doing it for an hour. Jesus Christ, I could have fed 25 people by now!'" The sisters initially pursued careers outside the culinary world. Carla attended Blaine the School ( for beauty) after graduating from high school, eventually Top to bottom, Pasta rigatoni all' amatriciana —pancetta onion spicy tomato sauce with fresh ricotta, Cioppino—a fish stew in a spice tomato broth, and Christine in the kitchen at Nebo. opening up Di Giacomo Salon—in honor of her mother's maiden name, Di Giacomo— in Reading in 1981. "I originally won a scholarship to FIT (Fashion Institute of America) from Singer [Sewing Company]," says Carla. "It was to go to New York, and my father said, ' You're only 17 years old and you're not going to New York, so pick a college here if you want.' I didn't want to, because I just liked being creative, so opening a salon was the creative thing I decided to do." After Christine graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in marketing, she had no idea what she wanted to do. "So I took a year off and eventually went to cosmetology school—Melrose Beauty Academy," she says. The plan was to join her sister's hair salon, which now offered facials, manicures and pedicures, and tanning. "We were a very, very busy salon," says Carla. "At one point, we had 13 people working for us. We had clients for 27 years, and by that time we were doing three generations. They became my closest friends." After work, the sisters would drive two miles up the road to their parents' house in Stoneham. "We would stop in, see what was on the stove and taste it, say hello, and then go out," says Christine, who at the time lived (and still does) in a Chelsea townhouse next to Carla's. This was their routine for several years, until their parents started spending winters in Florida. "For those three months we would go out to eat—at really nice restaurants," says Christine. "I don't like junk food. My theory is it has to be really, really junky food or really

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