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 58 NOVEMBER 2019 I N - D E P T H nice food. I don't like that middle-of-the-road stuff, which is trying to be something it's not. "So one day we were sitting in a restaurant and I looked at Carla and said, 'I'm so sick of this. Every time we go out to dinner, we like to order about five, six, seven appetizers and eat as if we're in Ma's kitchen. Here, you get maybe an appetizer, you get an entrée, you're bored with it, and we leave unhappy.' So I looked at her and said, 'I'm going to open a restaurant.' And she goes, 'Okay.' And I said, 'No, no, I'm going to open a restaurant, and I'm going to set it up as if you're eating in Ma's kitchen. I want five or six things that people share at the table.' She said, 'You've lost your mind.' I said, 'Probably, but you know what? I'm leaving the salon in three months. Are you coming with me or not?' She's like, 'You're serious.' And I was like, 'Yeah, I'm serious.' "So I told my father and, God bless him, he said, 'Do it.' I tell my mother and she's like, 'You're crazy! You have a successful hair salon and you're doing great.' I'm like, 'I know, but I'm bored.' So then I tell my brother, who as a hobby would invest in restaurants. I thought he would say, 'Are you nuts? You guys have never waitressed, hosted, or worked a day in a restaurant in your lives. You've lost your mind.' Instead, he said, 'Oh, wow. You guys would be great in that business.' And I'm like, 'Oh, shit. Now that I've told everybody, I've got to step up to the plate.'" After writing a business plan and securing funding, the sisters closed their salon; they chose to give all their equipment away to a woman who had dreamed of owning a beauty salon but couldn't afford one. "My father worked really hard to give us that same opportunity," says Carla. "So we wanted someone else to have the chance that we got," adds Christine, who admits they never even met the woman. Then it was time to focus on Nebo. "Three weeks before we opened," says Christine, "I say, 'Ma, we need to learn to cook.'" "There were no recipes," says Carla. "It was very difficult." "She'd go to make something and she'd throw the flour down and we'd say, 'What are the measurements?'" says Christine. "And she'd say, 'What do you mean, what are the measurements? You feel it. You see it.' And I'd say, 'Ma, we can't teach the staff how to cook like that.' So she would literally throw the flour down and I would scoop it up and put it in a measuring cup. I did everything like it was an instant rewind." Soon the sisters learned how to make the rustic dishes ( from their mother's native Puglia) that they grew up eating and wanted to serve at the restaurant, like fried meatballs in marinara, spaghetti with clams, and lemon chicken with artichoke hearts. As expected, their guests loved the food. Everything went smoothly until 2013, when the restaurant's landlord tripled their rent. Undaunted, the sisters hustled around and found a new, larger space near the financial district, designing the 180- seat interior themselves to include an open kitchen, "so the cooks could feel proud Carla at the stove at Nebo and Spaghettini Alla Vongole

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