Friday, March 23, 2012

Stuffed Customers Fill 20th Taste Of MetroSouth

BROCKTON--"We got a 3-for," shouted Kevin Hahl to Black Irish Grille chef Shaun Shubert, who busily worked to slice and dice rolls of veggie sushi, beef carpaccio and Irish curry apple stuffed mushrooms when customers asked for all three of their offerings at Black Irish Grille's table for the 20th annual MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce's "Taste of MetroSouth."
Hahl, Shubert, (pictured, top) Kaitlyn Rice and Eric "Bubba" Pittard opened the Black Irish Grille in Bridgewater's Broad Street Pub in January.
Most customers tried all 3 appetizers--going for the 3-for.
"Why have one when you can have three," joked Easton's Carrie Sheehan as she popped the crab-filled veggie sushi into her mouth.
"Delicious," she exclaimed.
Wednesday night Black Irish Grille crew entertained the throngs who stopped by their table and enjoyed the more than 60 other restaurants who served culinary delights ranging from bread-bowl clam chowder, to Alfredo pasta dishes, peppery steak sliders to spicy rice and beans and mini-burritos.
"I love it," said Amanda Wilbur, a 26-year-old Brockton resident who attended the Taste for the first time with her 87-year-old grandmother Phyllis Martin.
The pair (pictured, right) were finishing a square of chocolate lava cake served up by Good Samaritan Medical Center's Sodexo food service.
Wilbur said her favorite dish was the clam chowder offered by 3 different vendors.
"They were all good," Wilbur said. "I'm stuffed," she added.
Her grandmother, Phyllis Martin smiled and declared the lamb and salad served by National Restaurant Hall of Fame's Christo's, in her opinion, won best in show.
"Christo's is my favorite restaurant," Martin said.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MetroSouth Chamber Celebrates 98th Biz Expo

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—In a sea of blue, black and gray-suited business people gathered for MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce’s 98th annual meeting and expo, standing out in a tie-die T-shirt and wearing pink, blue, green and white ribbons in her hair was face painter extraordinaire and artist Kara Andrews.
“You’re wonderful. Can I get your card. I’m thinking about my grandson’s birthday,” one woman said, as Andrews blew up a balloon and quick as a blink formed it into a bright red lady bug.
A once-and-former chemist, public school substitute art teacher and would-be anthropologist, Andrews gave up the corporate and usual paths of life to follow her lifelong dream and opened her own children’s fine arts studio, Art on the Spot Studio, in Middleboro.
Andrews, 40, an award-winning face painter, expanded the business to include body adornment, face painting, glitter tattoos, crazy hair and Henna--an endeavor that not only caught the eye of hundreds of expo attendees, but also Hollywood.
“I did the makeup for ‘Furry Vengeance’ with Brandon Fraser and Brooke Shields,” Andrews said.
While the movie wasn’t a world-wide sensation, Andrews' designs are.
She said it was fun working on a film and even having an on-screen role.
“There’s a two-second spot if you look really close where I play—what else? A face painter,” Andrews said.
(Andrews, pictured in top photo with MetroSouth's intern Irene Giannenakis, a Stoughton High School student, and in second photo with Alison Van Dam, MetroSouth's director of communications)
The business-to-business expo and annual meeting held at the Massasoit Community College Conference Center, Nov. 16 helped showcase Andrews’ artistic talents and the values and quality of hundreds of other businesses in the MetroSouth Chamber’s region.
The keynote speaker for the program was David Morales, vice-president of public policy and planning for Steward Health Care System, a private company that recently purchased the Catholic Church's Caritas hospitals, including Good Samaritan Medical Center, which opened a new, state-of-the-art emergency room last month.
Members mixed and mingled, including Mutual Bank Assistant Treasure Yashin Cerritos, Business and Banking Development Officer Chris Dickinson and West Branch Manager Aida Monteiro. (Pictured, bottom photo)
It was also a time for the chamber to recognize individuals and businesses that have contributed to the area’s business growth and community.
Christine Karavites from Proteas Consulting was this year's Charles A. Fuller Service Award winner. (Pictured below with Steward's Morales as she headed to the stage to accept her award)
Economic Impact Award winners are:
*Bernardi Auto Group, Brockton which opened a Honda and Hyundai showroom on the former Northern Isles site, investing $24 million into the project;
*Brockton Parking Authority, Brockton which has reconstructed the Lincoln Street parking lot, which now has solar-powered revenue controls and video surveillance. The project included the refurbishment of Church Street and new sidewalks in the area.
*The Charlie Horse, West Bridgewater which has renovated and expanded its longtime operations to include a new function room with 50-inch HD TV’s, a flagstone fireplace and a new state-of-the-art bowling alley;
*Coffman Realty—CVS, Brockton which received $2 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds for a $4 million project that replaced Paramount Rug with a new CVS pharmacy at West Street;
*Crescent Credit Union, Brockton which has moved its location from West Street to a new, modern branch at its headquarters at 1300 Belmont St. Crescent Credit Union is also the recipient of the Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility;
*Good Samaritan Medical Center, Brockton which has gone from a non-profit hospital to a private facility after Steward Health Care System purchased the Caritas hospital network. The hospital last month opened its new state-of-the-art emergency room—a $34 million investment;
*Porter and Chester Institute, Canton which has been provided career training in New England since 1946. It features 40,450-square-foot building with new and updated equipment in all its classrooms and labs.
*Salvatore Capital Partners, Brockton, are the developers of Panera Bread’s new bakery and cafĂ© on the West Side of Brockton, a $4 million project which included the addition of Eastern Bank, a Sprint store, and Massage Envy, all which complement Starbucks, Bertucci’s and other businesses in an adjacent plaza.
*Stonehill College—Merkert-Tracy Hall, Easton, has undergone a complete renovation from a science wing to an administration building that now houses the Advancement and Finance, and Human Resources Department. Built in 1949, the hall’s reconstruction was an investment of $6 million.
*Willwork, Inc., Exhibit & Event Services, Easton has reopened after a fire destroyed its facility at 23 Norfolk Ave., in the Easton Industrial Park. The new 40,000-square-foot building is double the original size and was designed by the company’s employees.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MetroSouth Holds 98th Expo, Luncheon

BROCKTON--MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce will host its 98th annual Business-to-Business Expo Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Massasoit Conference Center.
The expo is a great opportunity to reach 500 business people throughout the Metro South region. Designed to be a personal table-top expo, presenters will be provided with meaningful opportunities to promote their company to prospect after prospect.
During the expo David Morales, vice-president of public policy and planning for Steward Health Care System will be the guest speaker for the annual luncheon.
The chamber will also announce its Economic Impact Award presentations.
The luncheon will take place from Noon to 1:45 p.m. and costs $45 per person for members, $55 for others, or $450 for a table of 10.
Call Kim Prosper at 508-586-0500 x 231 or email for tickets and info.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Edaville's New Season Opens Oct. 1

CARVER--Edaville Railroad will open for its full fall schedule Saturday, October 1 with appearances by Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, followed by a full slate of familiar and new activities and offerings to delight the throngs of people who visit the park.
This season’s familiar events, such as Thomas, the Cranberry Festival and the Festival of Lights will be joined by The Polar Express, Ghost Train and a Country Fair. (Click here for full schedule)
In the wake of a sale agreement that did not come to fruition, Edaville owner Jon Delli Priscoli decided several months ago to keep the park open for one more season through the ever popular holiday Festival of Lights.
Following that decision, other developments prompted him not only to take the park off of the market, but also to refurbish and improve Edaville USA while seeking opportunities to expand its offerings.
“After the initial sale fell through I decided to keep the park open for another season because for me, this park is a labor of love,” Priscoli said in a prepared statement.
“Meanwhile, I became involved in another business opportunity that brings great potential for cross marketing opportunities, and that prompted me to decide not only to keep Edaville, but to expand the offerings there as well,” he said
Priscoli was recently named a director and CEO of Cape Rail, Inc., which operates the Cape Cod Central Railroad and the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad.
Cape Cod Central is known for its popular dinner trains and other tourist train events, while Mass Coastal is primarily a freight line operating on the South Coast and on Cape Cod.
Ultimately, Priscoli and his new partners plan to expand tourist rail offerings to Fall River and New Bedford via the Mass Coastal line, which offers great opportunities for cross marketing promotions with Edaville USA.
New offerings at Edaville will also include an antiques show, slated for next year, to attract premier dealers from the Northeast and beyond. Priscoli, who is a director of the non-profit Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, has successfully produced a premier show at that venue for the last two years.
“At Edaville we anticipate seeing antiques lovers and their young children, who will have an opportunity to take in the age appropriate park offerings while the parents take in the antiques show,” he said.
Meanwhile, workers have been busy rerouting part of Edaville’s rail line so that the static rides the park offers can be grouped all together. There will be a new outdoor play area and new rides, including bumper cars.
There are also plans to bring in a small roller coaster and a Model T driving ride. The food service has also been upgraded, thanks to an arrangement with Carver’s own Little Red Smokehouse, which will provide its signature barbeque chicken and other delights for hungry patrons.
And of course, new paint, varnish, wider pathways and other cosmetic improvements will all be completed by the time the park opens on Oct. 1.
“This will be a great year for Edaville and I’m looking forward to seeing the smiling faces of the thousands of children and their parents, many of whom came here as kids themselves, when we open next month,” Priscoli said.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pasta Bene Rolls On As Tutto Bene

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—After more than 30 years as Pasta Bene, owner Benjamin Albanese has changed the name to Tutto Bene to better match the evolution of the business that has grown from initially selling handmade ravioli to a full-service caterer and restaurant.
“It’s all good—that’s what it means—Tutto Bene—it’s all good. It’s not just pasta anymore,” Albanese said.
The name change came several weeks ago, and includes a new sign for the restaurant at 1050 Pearl St. and a brightly painted car that advertises the new name change.
What will remain the same, Albanese, 58, said, is the same high standard and quality of the pasta, ravioli, tortellini and other homemade specialties served at the restaurant, catering and retail side of the company.
Albanese, 58, who worked as a Brockton City Solicitor for more than 10 years, said he launched Pasta Bene when he was a young student attending law school. He tended bar, went to classes and began hand-rolling ravioli and sold them from a corner stand in a cheese shop.
His sisters helped roll ravioli as the business grew and grew and grew— and as he went on as a professional lawyer, the business continued to expand, eventually opening in a building across the street that now houses White’s Pastry.
The business moved into its current location about 12 years ago, and recently renovated an adjacent space for functions and private parties, and rebuilt the bar and dining room.
On most Thursday nights, Berklee College of Music Professor Steve Heck and Albanese’s wife Lynne play organ and perform a mix of popular music, rhythm and blues, and old favorites.
Back before Ben and Lynne were married 17 years ago and had their children Alexandra, 14--who often sings with Heck and Lynne--and Ben, 12, Lynne took her shot at fame and fortune and headed out to California, where while she didn’t hit the big time, had the opportunity to sing with the famous Righteous Brothers in a club they owned in Los Angeles. (Pictured above with Heck playing organ, and with husband Ben)
Staff at Tutto Bene, many who have been there for 10 years or more, said they enjoy working at the restaurant and believe it is one of the best places in the area for Italian food, creative American cuisine, Sangria made fresh everyday and a stylish, urban atmosphere that draws judges, lawyers, area business owners and 30-and 40-somethings looking for a sophisticated night out.
“I love this place,” said Joe Niccoli, owner of Niccoli Bros. Oil, who with several employees stopped in to visit his favorite wait staff. (Pictured at right with staff member Carly Gerry)
Tara Hasomeris, a Brockton native whose 30th birthday party was a hot topic of comment at the restaurant, laughed as she philosophized about the milestone, and poured a glass of Sangria. (Pictured below)
“We really have fun here—you have to have fun, because before you know it you’re turning 30,” Hasomeris said.
Canton resident Teresa Mackie, who has been with Albanese for over 10 years, said it’s been a great place to work while she raises her children.
“It’s really like a family,” Mackie said. “There are people of all ages, but everyone gets along and we have a good time,” she said.
Tutto Bene's hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Evening dining: Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.
Lunch: Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Retail store: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Click here to visit Tutto Bene's website.
(Pictured at top, Kitchen Manager Omar Sodevilla, and second from top, Prep Chef Emmanuel Barria)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SBA Johns, Nelson Highlight Urban League Biz Summit

BOSTON--The National Urban League and Small Business Administration will host a free small business summit, Saturday, July 30 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
The summit will include the opportunity to network with industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs while accessing resources to help your business grow.
A featured panelist for the free portion of the conference is SBA’s Massachusetts Director Bob Nelson, who will speak about the state of entrepreneurship and financing programs.
Nelson's discussion will be held from 9:15 to 10:45 a.m.
This session will describe growing trends in the Massachusetts innovation economy and provide financial and technical assistance programs geared toward helping business access capital and new market opportunities.
There will also be a luncheon presentation by SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns. (Pictured above)
Johns joins the summit from SBA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Johns is Deputy Administrator of the US Small Business Administration, where she contributes to management of the agency and development of SBA policy.
Johns was nominated by President Obama on December 17, 2009 and confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate June 22, 2010.
Johns session will take place from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.
There is a fee for Johns' presentation.
There will also be a matchmaking session when purchasing representatives from Fortune 500 companies will provide their available contracting opportunities to conference registrants in advance of this session.
Armed with this information business owners will decide which companies they would like to meet with and have five minutes to pitch their ideas.
From 2 to 3:30 p.m. there will be a new entrepreneur "pitch session," when participants that have been in business for under a year or are thinking of starting a business will have the opportunity to enter the pitch competition.
Finalists will be chosen before the conference and will pitch their ideas to a panel live for a chance to win $10,000 towards their new small business venture and admission to 100 Urban Entrepreneur’s eight-week business-mentoring program.
A more complete agenda for this conference can be found at:

Monday, July 25, 2011

SportsSmart Program Gives Area Athletes Concussion Baseline Test

BROCKTON--A new partnership between Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital and five area high schools will help athletic trainers, coaches and school nurses provide orthopedic care, medical Care, physical therapy and concussion baselines for all athletes at the schools.
Participants from Brockton High School, Cardinal Spellman, Whitman-Hanson High School, Stoughton High, and East Bridgewater High will be a part of a new program, SportsSmart, that along with numerous services will include an ImPact test that creates a medical baseline of the student's brain in case of a concussion.
Brockton Hospital officials said in a prepared statement the ImPact program is used to create baselines for athletes, so when they experience a concussion, there is a way to measure against their normal reaction time.
The test shows a combination of memory, spatial recognition, color recognition, word recognition, reaction time and irritability.
Officials said a concussion cannot be "graded" because the same hit to the head affects different people in different ways.
Every athlete at a professional level performs the ImPact test as a baseline, officials said.
Schools in the ImPact testing program, which was launched earlier this month, will receive access to free impact testing by a certified impact consultant, and clinically managed pre-season conditioning, and 24/7 access to emergency medical care, radiology services, physical therapy-rehabalitation services, orthopedic surgeons, and a SportSmart medical director.
Also offered as a part of the SportSmart program are free educational forums for CEU credits for athletic directors and athletic trainers, presented by experts, including Dr. Ken Lawson,SportSmart Program Director and Chief of the Emergency Department at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital.
Forum topics will include preseason nutrition and hydration, traumatic brain injury, and sudden cardiac arrest.
Many of these forums will be open to parents and teachers.
Bill Buckner, former Major League Baseball first baseman and manager of the Brockton Rox, is the program's spokesperson.
For more information, please visit
Photo above, courtesy Brockton Hospital. Pictured are members of Stoughton High's sports staff and officials from Brockton Hospital. From left to right: Dr. Ken Lawson, Stoughton Athletic Director Ryan Donahue and athletic trainer Jen Dowd, Stoughton Nursing Director Pat Small, Brockton Hospital Program Coordinator Linda McAlear, and CEO Kim Hollon.