By Emily Drooby
“Mimi’s how can I help you?”
Being able to answer the phone like that has been a life-long dream for Carmela Nassa-Lancellotti.
She grew up in the food industry, and spent many a day at her parent’s restaurant.
“I always wanted to have my own,” she told Currents News.
Now, she does; Mimi’s Pizzeria.
For this deeply faithful Catholic, the opportunity came at a seemingly inopportune time — during a raging pandemic.
Back in March when the virus first started spreading in New York, it actually seemed like the perfect time as more people relied on food delivery.
Her husband Frederic told Currents News, “And to me, I think those are the signs. Since you have this dream, it’s the sign that we should look into it.”
So, Frederic and Carmela did look into it. Around Thanksgiving, they found this space. For Carmela, it was love at first sight.
“I felt like a stone on top of me, I couldn’t move, I was heavy,” she explained. “When we walked out I said to my husband, ‘This is it.'”
Right as her dream was in grasp, fear set in. The pandemic which was once inspiration became a cause for concern as COVID cases started to skyrocket again.
In December alone, when they were preparing to buy the shop, 500,000 jobs vanished from restaurants, hotels, casinos, and other entertainment venues — the highest number seen since April.
Thousands were fleeing the food industry as they were about to jump in feet first.
“People are not going to eat outside. So we really want to invest in something like that? It’s scary as it is, we have two kids, we have our bills,” Carmela explained.
That’s when faith took over. Frederic told Carmela that the way she felt when she walked into the building must be a sign from God.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry about it,'” she said. “If that’s what, God just gave you the keys. No matter pandemic or whatever it is, maybe it’s yours. It’s our destiny.”
One week later, on December 18, they officially owned the pizzeria.
Carmela left her long-standing volunteer position at her children’s school, Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy.
They opened up right away and haven’t looked back, trusting in God, leaning on their faith and taking the plunge.