Where I am today with NicoBella’s Family Restaurant, did not come without a history. For me, it all started back when I was 12 years old working at a small print shop called Hopkins Press. While working there making playbills for the Warwick Musical Theater, I met and spent time with Bernadette Peters, Barbara Eden, Tom Jones, and many more. One of the most profound opportunities I had was getting to know and spend time with Liberace whom I was able to call my friend.
After Hopkins Press, I would hold several impactful jobs; a paper route, working at Railroad Deli, and pumping gas in North Providence. The culmination of these experiences would prepare me to not only become accustomed to working hard around the clock, but also owning my own small business called Hi-Qual Printing at the age of 17.
As the years passed, I was able to grow and seek other business ventures. I went from owning 1 apartment to 98. Just like any business owner, I would have many successes and downfalls. My greatest downfalls, both professionally and personally, came during the 2008 housing crisis. I lost my wife, children, and business including 18 employees whose lives and families were also impacted. I started using drugs and alcohol to cope and felt like my mind, spirit, and will to live were gone. In 2009, I awoke and realized God had another plan in store for me. So began my restoration. I moved to Austin, TX where I was able to start rekindling my relationship with my ex-wife and our youngest children. Eventually, we all moved back to the New England area and from there I would drive over 6,000 miles on my bike to meet one of my older daughters to reconnect.
Not only was I able to rebuild my relationship with my children, and remarry my beautiful wife, Debbie, I was able to rekindle my relationship with with my only brother, Umberto Crenca, after being estranged for seven years. This helped fuel a dormant dream I had which was owning a business with my brother. We would soon be joined by my childhood friend, Brian Tedeschi. I knew the three of us could be a unified team bringing variety, skill, a passion for food, art, business, and a mutual love for the city we all grew up in.
Hard work ethic, passion, and entrepreneurship would be the main ingredients to fuel my culinary experience stretching over 36 years in and around the Providence area at places like Alfredo’s, Capriccio’s, owning the Castle Spa, working and consulting with Brewed Awakenings, Chardonnays in Seekonk, and of course, NicoBella’s.
After a very successful first year we closed our doors for construction with the intention of expansion, and due to unforeseen constructional issues, we reluctantly closed our doors permanently in our first location.
It is now today, we can finally say we found our permanent home for NicoBella’s Family Restaurant, just two buildings away from where we were before, on the bustling intersection of Dorrance St. and Westminster St. in the heart of Downtown Providence. At completion, we will boast 100 seats, a barista and fresh baked goods, grab and go meals, delivery of artisanal pizza to the Downtown Area, and a full liquor license.
We hope to be that cool ass kitchen for Downtown Providence. With our affordable home style cooking, we hope to open our doors to a wide customer base not just to the business professionals, but also to our local residents, and our out of town guests. It is our intention to pay homage to the City of Providence that has been so good to us and my family for over 75 years. We will not just showcase some of the best food that Providence has to offer but also the love of art that Providence has for its local artists.