La storia della famiglia:
chef/owner Tim O'Brien & The Italian Connection
San Donato Val di Comino
Tim's great-grandfather, Cesidio Marini, was born and raised in mountainous, granite-laiden San Donato Val di Comino (Frosinone/Ciociaria region of Lazio) where stone cutting was the industry. Why does that town sound familiar? It's where Tony Soprano's fictional family came from, and you guessed it, his father was a stone cutter. SDVDC is a beautiful town carved into a mountainside bordering the Abruzzese National Park. Its food is rustic & rugged, and they brought the cuisine with them to the South Shore of Boston (pasta fasul, lamb arrosticini, chestnuts...) along with their stone cutting skills which are commemorated throughout Quincy & Newton. "Cornicello" has paid homage to this familial history by incorporating masonry tools, brick, granite, marble, slate, and stone throughout the design of the restaurant, culminated by the large Italian alabaster light in the center of the dining room.
San'tAndrea di Conza
Tim's maternal side of the Italian family, comes from farther south: Sant'Andrea di Conza (Avellino Province of Campania). That's where Filomena Capone enters into the picture along with her daughter, my grandmother, Viola Marini. Sant'Andrea di Conza is nestled in the mountainous area on the border of Basilicata and a short hop in to Puglia. The town is remote and depressed, with an aging population, but one that still holds on to its gastronomic traditions. Aglianico is the table wine, and semolina pasta shapes (cavatelli, orecchiette, cannazzi...) are firm and toothsome. Sheep's milk cheese abundant, nearby water buffalo farms supply the town with mozzarella and of course, the sacred chili pepper that has its annual festival...mostly dried into a sweet and mildly hot paprika used to flavor cured meats and baccala. The restaurant's name, Cornicello, is a Southern Italian good luck symbol in the form of a chili pepper.