Since June 2005, Nebo has provided North Enders, sports fans, athletes, and countless other visitors with classic Italian food by chef/owners Carla and Christine Pallotta. The time has come for a change of scenery, though, and the sisters have found their dream space on Atlantic Wharf, right next to Jody Adams' year-old Trade. The original location, right in the shadow of the Garden, holds lots of memories, so moving on won't be easy, but the Pallottas hope to bring a little bit of the North End to the Wharf, where they plan on cultivating the same neighborhood feel that they've perfected over the last seven and a half years. The sisters sat down with Eater to talk about what they'll be leaving behind and what they're looking forward to as they move towards a probable spring opening by the water.
So, what can you say about the new place?
Christine: Insanity. That sums it up.
Carla: We're very excited. The space is exactly what Christine was dreaming of eight years ago when we started this business. When we walked into the space, it was honestly like someone took a picture from her memory. The architecture's gorgeous. It's an old building, a historic building.
Christine: It's like sitting in a snowglobe. It's just beautiful. The bricks and windows and metal and everything that I ever visualized - I can't believe I'm actually getting it. It's my dream place.
Carla: We're doing what we do. It's the same food; we're moving to a different house. It's just a larger space, so we're excited about it.
Christine: I feel like we're going from Brooklyn to Manhattan. And we'll be on chef row with Jody Adams and Joanne Chang and Barbara Lynch.
Carla: All the women are down there first. We're moving to a ladies' neighborhood! It's great. And it's nice to have neighbors. We don't have any neighbors here, so it's a different feel. This was like going to SoHo or going to Brooklyn and finding a hidden jewel, but it will be nice to have neighbors, too.
What's the timeline?
Christine: About two years from now, hopefully... [Laughs.] No, spring. I think.
Carla: We're aiming for a spring kind of thing, but we don't put it a date on it. When we did this Nebo, we had no time limit. We really and truly did this very peacefully. We got to enjoy every part of it, and our goal is to do the new one as peacefully as we did this one and really enjoy it.
Will you close up this location as soon as the new one opens, or do you plan to keep both open for awhile?
Christine: I think we're just going to transition gradually into one, hopefully. It's a lot more entailed over there. This is just dinner. There it's going to be dinner in house, lunch in house, some office catering, so it's just a larger project over there. So do I want to have two? I really don't think I need to have two. I want to really and truly enjoy it over there.
Carla: There's two things that made it really hard for us. Letting go of this is really difficult because it was a part of our father. He passed away a few years ago, and he helped with this, helped build it, and he was here every day. And it's our neighborhood. We will always be glued to the North End. We grew up on the street over. So we have those emotional ties to this location, but at the same time, we have a really fabulous staff at Nebo. We really can't imagine doing another place and not bringing the kitchen staff with us and letting them be part of it. They're a family. What's really nice about our staff is that we have expectations of them, but the nicest part about it is that they have expectations of each other, and they all help each other and they all work together, and to have a staff that really and truly cares about each other and loves each other...
Christine: ...it's kind of hard to split that up.
Carla: We have one thing we want to continue more than anything. We have all these traditions from our neighborhood, and - I'm going to cry - this is our neighborhood no matter what.
Christine: All of our purveyors are down here. We walk the streets, we go to the butcher, we see our father's friends every day. There's not an aunt or a cousin or a best friend we don't see every day. So that's difficult.
Carla: We are really and truly hoping to bring the North End experience to Atlantic Wharf.
Christine: The name of this restaurant means North End Boston, so now I'm just going to say it means North End Brought Over. That's what we're hoping to do. Bring a little bit of the North End to Atlantic Wharf. I still want it to be a neighborhood place. And people in the neighborhood keep telling me, "We're dying for a neighborhood place. We can't wait." And that's what I always want. I want you to be able to eat here three, four nights a week. I want you to feel like it's Cheers.
Carla: And we'll still be walking around the North End every day.
Christine: We're still keeping our parking spaces, our purveyors. I think it's important to bring that over. I worked seven years to make that happen here, and to lose that and to change my whole concept - I don't want to do that. I just want a new location, that's it. That's all. It's just going to be a different space. It's going to be my dream space - but my same concept that I had years ago.
Carla: We're moving from an apartment to a townhouse. [Laughs.]
· All coverage of Nebo on Eater [~EBOS~]