Since the 1950s the Scire family has been feeding the hungry masses in East Boston with topnotch food that has become a staple of many diets in the neighborhood.
One block away from its original location, Sammy Carlo’s Catering has become one of those go-to places for good old fashioned Italian comfort food.
The business, started by Steve Scire’s grandfather Carlo, is in its third generation of ownership and recently completed a painstaking historical restoration of the popular sub shop’s facade–replacing the old wood shingles with clapboards, new windows and new signage.
Last week, Scire pitched a new concept to members of the Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA) that would bring in the owners of Food for Thought to run a restaurant out of Carlo’s space after the sub shop closes for the day.
At last week’s HVNA meeting, Scire said he met the owner and the chef from Food for Thought, a seasonal restaurant in Ogunquit, ME, over the summer while vacationing with his wife Kathy.
Scire said he immediately fell in love with the restaurant’s food, vibe and concept.
“Kathy and I were vacationing in Maine and went to dinner one night,” said Scire.
Scire said they stumbled upon Food for Thought, owned by Jay Grey and led by Executive Chef Bradley Andries, and made a connection.
“We were talking with Mr. Grey and he told us how he was from Boston, had lived in East Boston for a while and something clicked,” said Scire. “He was telling us how he was trying to open up shop in Boston but it was too expensive.”
The next day Scire went back and pitched a concept to Grey and Andries that he thought would work for all involved.
“After we rehabbed the building we thought there was something more we could offer the neighborhood after 5 p.m.,” said Scire. “We close the sub shop at 3-3:30 p.m. every day and we felt there was something more we could do with the space and offer something for all the new people moving into the neighborhood.”
Scire’s plan with Food for Thought is to have Grey and Andries come in and use Carlo’s from 5 to 11 p.m. and offer a full dinner menu complete with craft beers and good wine.
“I got to be honest with you, I love their business plan and what these guys are all about,” said Scire. “I love their ideas, their menu because they are really cooking from the heart and profits didn’t come first.”
Grey said that while Food for Thought is about having fun with food and offering experimental twists on local favorites it’s also about giving back.
“In Maine we gave away five percent of our profits to help combat opioid addiction in the state,” said Grey. “We want to be here for a long time and we want to be a part of this community. If we are able to open in East Boston we will donate five percent of our proceeds back into the neighborhood. We’ve been successful in Maine and five percent wasn’t going to make us or break us so here in East Boston we know the same will be true but that five percent can really help the community.”
Andries said the menu would reflect the community and use some of Carlo’s more popular dishes as inspiration. For example Andries used Carlo’s quality Italian cold cuts and developed an Italian cold cut dumpling. Also there’s a dish using some of Carlo’s legendary homemade meatballs.
“It’s the type of food that made you smile as a kid but with a twist,” said Andries.
Other items are a grilled cheese sandwich but instead of bread Andries will use a Kane Donut and serve the sandwich dangling from a fish hook over homemade tomato bisque.