“What’s the secret to making good pasta?”
All the pasta at Daniela’s is homemade.
“The secret…”, Daniela ponders on this for a moment: “I think the secret… is to work very, very hard!”
Daniela’s family emigrated from the island of Sardinia when her husband was offered a position at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore.
“My mother is in Italy. She is 87 years and cannot come here, so I visit twice a year. But when I go to Italy, it is not a vacation! We have about 60 to 70 people in the family, so I am cooking all day!”
Stefano chimes in: “From 12pm to 12 we are at my mom’s house eating all day, and then from 12 midnight to 12 we are all at my dad’s house… eating!”
Eating at Daniela’s restaurant is like eating with family. Stefano explains that their menu stays the same each day, however, “If you come in and say, I really feel like eating pasta with clams, my mom will say: “Hold on, give me 5 minutes!””
This summer, you’ll probably meet Nick who is learning to cook pastries from Daniela and helps out at the restaurant. “We met at the public pool, and I asked Stefano if he had a job for me!”
The bond they share is perceptible. While enjoying a delicious dessert, I witnessed a conversation between them go like this:
“I’m dropping out of school!”
“No, you’re not dropping out of school.”
“I’m dropping out! Why shouldn’t I drop out of school?”
“Because you have a future ahead of you. You’re staying in school.”
This positive affirmation closed the conversation on school.
Stefano explains: “I’m tired of seeing kids around here messing things up, drinking alcohol, and ruining their futures. My mom has a big heart, and Nick’s a great kid. We’re keeping him out of trouble here.”
This relationship exemplifies one of many ways in which small businesses relate intimately to the community around them. The colourful mural in their restaurant provides a relaxing impression of Cagliari (the largest city in Sardinia), creating a warm sense of eating a meal right at home with Daniela.
Shopkeeper Stories is a photographic documentary of small business owners with their trades around the world, sharing their views on business and life. You can catch all the posts on Facebook and Instagram @ShopkeeperStories. Enjoy!