Story by Marianne Salza
Following the bustle of lunchtime in his Jeffries Point corner store, Nick Moulaison, owner of Carmellaâ€™s Italian Market, is stuffing cheery peppers with rolled prosciutto, salami, ham, and provolone.
The space has been a neighborhood deli since 1927, and has the original floor and countertop. Moulaisonâ€™s brother, Clark, purchased the store in 2012, and re-named it Carmellaâ€™s Italian Market, after his wife. Moulaison acquired the business upon his brotherâ€™s retirement in March 2022.
â€œI grew up in this neighborhood, and this is the store I came to as a kid,â€ notes Moulaison. â€œBefore us, it was called Gloria Food Store. It was a chain of food stores at one point. Itâ€™s an old school-type place.â€
â€œLately, weâ€™ve become famous for these hot peppers. We soak them in a vegetable/olive oil blend and secret seasoning,â€ Moulaison chuckles. â€œI like to put them in the jars so you can see the pinwheels.â€
Carmellaâ€™s Market supplies the fundamentals for an Italian kitchen: pasta, canned tomatoes, and olive oil. Another essential that Moulaison supplies is dog treats, as a dozen dogs frequent Carmellaâ€™s Market with their families each day.
In the entrance is a candy and chocolate display. Images of family, friends — and Moulaisonâ€™s bulldog, Zeus — decorate the walls. Framing the front door are his parentsâ€™ wedding picture, his mother, Virginiaâ€™s, First Holy Communion portrait, and a photograph of his father, Clark, wearing his Marine uniform.
â€œI like to keep the old-school feel of the neighborhood here, but with modern things,â€ Moulaison explains. â€œA few months ago we started doing espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and regular coffee. There really is no other coffee shop in this neighborhood.â€
Moulaisonâ€™s all-day breakfast sandwiches (served on a bagel, Portuguese muffin, or spuckie roll with bacon, ham, or sausage) have become popular. Carmellaâ€™s Market also sells muffins and cookies, as well as homemade sheet pizza sold by the slice.
Carmellaâ€™s Market serves specialty subs named after Moulaisonâ€™s loved ones who created them. The â€œFelicia Special,â€ titled in honor of his daughter, is a chicken cutlet sub with prosciutto, bacon, mozzarella, pickles, onions, tomatoes, balsamic glaze, and seasoning.
â€œMy kids do a lot for me. My grandkids work here on the weekend,â€ says Moulaison, who operates the family business with friend, Renee Taylor, and children, Nicolette and Nicholas.
Moulaison sells fresh and frozen homemade calzones, but in the next few months, hopes to offer prepared meals like pasta and meatballs, and chicken parmesan. Visit Carmellaâ€™s Italian Market Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm, at 86 Cottage Street, East Boston. View a menu at www.CarmellasMarket.com, or call (617) 567-6373. Follow Carmellaâ€™s Market on Facebook to watch Nick Moulaison prepare subs with his freshly-sliced cold cuts