Northshore Magazine

January/February 2013

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

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Page 158 of 180

t Think your holiday season is hectic? Nancy Batista-Caswell, proprietor and wine director at Ceia Kitchen + Bar in Newburyport, most likely has yours topped. Two days after Christmas, BatistaCaswell and her chefs will be cooking at James Beard House in New York City���the first restaurant team in Newburyport ever to be invited to that prestigious kitchen. Four days later, Ceia (pronounced SAYyah) will serve a sumptuous New Year���s Eve prix fixe meal, plus brunch on New Year���s Day, then shutter for a move across the street to reopen in less than a week in a new space with triple the number of seats. Then, at the beginning of February, just in time for Valentine���s Day, she plans to debut Brine, a new raw bar/chop house, in the space formerly occupied by Ceia. It���s an ambitious schedule, but not at all daunting for the 30-year-old Batista-Caswell, who, at age 19, was working as an assistant general manager for celebrity chef Chris Schlesinger at his Westport restaurant, the Back Eddy, while simultaneously earning a degree in business with a minor in hotel and restaurant management from Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI. ���[Schlesinger] taught me that the restaurant experience should be genuine, the food should be simple, and that it should really be a group effort,��� BatistaCaswell says. That philosophy has been a winning one for Batista-Caswell. Since opening in late 2010, Ceia has drawn accolades from Zagat, Boston magazine, The Boston Globe, and, of course, Northshore for its blend of welcoming hospitality and creative cuisine. Batista-Caswell���s focus on hospitality begins the minute a customer walks in the door. When she opened Ceia, she brought in local etiquette expert Jodi R.R. Smith (Smith has also been featured in our pages) to train the staff with the goal of making all guests feel welcome and important. The strategy paid off so well that she plans to invite Smith back to train the new hires in January. ���We want to recognize everyone,��� Batista-Caswell explains. ���Anyone who comes in the door can become a loyal customer. We [need to] win them so that when they have money to spend, they are going to spend it with us.��� To that end, servers even walk guests to the door after dinner, shaking hands and thanking them for din- 156 NSJanFeb13_FE_Ceia.indd 156 11/19/12 10:39 AM

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