During a dark time, a strategic restauranteur with three popular concepts in historic coastal New Bedford, Mass.,had a bright idea.
The shuttered doors of a restaurant in the the old Candleworks Building, where products were once built to “light the world,” now cast a shadow on the neighborhood where Howie Mallowes and his partner Alfred Peters were running three successful concepts: Rose Alley Ale House, The Vault Music Hall & Pub, and others.
“I didn’t like seeing a closed restaurant because it was so close to our other businesses,” Mallowes says. So, he reached out to restaurateur Albert Santas, who had closed Carmine’s at Candleworks during mandated Covid restrictions, and struck a deal to purchase and reopen the venerable location with the same staff and chef.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunity down there,” Mallowes told the New downtown New Bedford Standard Times in a recent interview. “It’s beautiful. It draws quite a few people from outside the city to see part of New Bedford.”
In this week’s interview with Boxerbrand’s blog Recipe for Success, Howie Mallowes speaks to the opportunity that presented itself in the midst of the restaurant lockdowns.
Boxerbrand: Was it complicated to re-open Carmine’s at Candleworks as new owners?
Howie Mallowes: It was pretty turn-key. We retained about 90 percent of the old staff, which was really important. And we were able to retain executive chef Joe Melo, which was really important to our goal to retain the Italian menu.
We purchased both the restaurant and the property in the Candleworks building, and after about three weeks of cleaning and making minor changes, we re-opened with a staff of 52. Everyone was pretty excited to get back to work, and we were so happy to see Carmine’s open again.
Boxerbrand: What is your vision for Carmine’s at Candleworks?
Howie Mallowes: We plan to maintain the staple Italian dishes, like chicken parmesan and seafood dishes, which take advantage of our proximity to the port and availability of fresh fish. Our menu is mid-to-upper-scale Italian cuisine for this area.
Mallowes told the New Bedford Standard Times that as a longtime New Bedford resident, he always had his eye on the historic Candleworks building. And he always wanted to own an Italian restaurant.
“We’re bringing a lot of our family recipes,” he told the New Bedford Standard Times, including a lighter marinara sauce, an “Exquisito,” served with chicken or veal served over salami with marsala-style sauce and baked cherrystone clams served with bread crumbs.
Boxerbrand: What makes you optimistic?
Howie Mallowes: Even though costs are up everywhere, I think people are ready to get back out again. We’ve learned to live with the aftermath of covid, and we’re seeing people come back who are just excited to get back out there and socialize.
Boxerbrand: Any exciting changes to Carmine’s at Candleworks?
Howie Mallowes: Carmine’s now features a breezier, outdoor atmosphere. We’ve opened up windows that had been painted shut and enhanced the outdoor patio dining space, according to the New Bedford Standard Times article. — Carmine’s at Candleworks uses Boxerbrand’s Classic Line in its table presentation. Thank you!