When Kim Ferrante pours a cup of coffee, or Tim Ferrante flips a piece of his famous French Toast – it’s usually not just for a customer, but rather for an extended family that has assembled at Carol’s Café for the last 17 years and before.
Sadly, that family-style customer experience is coming to a close this week as the Ferrante family closes up Carol’s to make way for a new owner to assume the reins of the cornerstone breakfast destination.
“Any customer who walked through the front door of Carol’s as a customer left as a member of our family,” said Kim, while pouring coffee on Monday at the tables in the Main Street café. “It’s as if they have walked into my living room. This isn’t just closing Carol’s and moving Carol’s. It’s very emotional. I’m very attached. We’ve been very fortunate not only to do so well and find success here, but also we have been able to build friendships that are important and long-lasting. Our daily life is going to change and change tremendously.”
Tim and Kim said they plan to relocate the restaurant to Wakefield and will open sometime in August, hopefully. Meanwhile, the new owner will be the owner of the Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the back room at night for several years. That owner, Jacquie, will be taking over the breakfast side and keeping the menu intact – but calling it Mama Santos’s Café.
The change was sinking in for the regulars on Monday morning at Carol’s – as long-time customers collected their last pour of coffee.
“We’re going to miss Kim and Tim the most, I think,” said Diana McGee. “They are just great people. The new owners will do good too, as long as they don’t take anyone too seriously here.”
Said John DiGregorio, “I’m going to miss being called ‘Johnny D’ every morning when I walk in. Everything comes to an end.”
Dick Horgan, who is 95 years old, has walked up to Carol’s for decades from Prescott Street. Every morning he orders the egg sandwich with two eggs. It has become a long-time routine – as it has for so many others.
“They really make you feel like you are family,” said City Councilor Fred Capone, who has taken his breakfast there with his wife, Michele, for nearly 20 years. “I swear that Tim has GPS on my truck because I come in and two minutes later Tim has my meal on the plate. He really has the best French Toast. Tim and Kim are just great. It’s going to be said to see them go off of Main Street. It’s kind of like the Cheers bar on TV, where they know ‘Norm’ when he walks in.”
Added Michele Capone, “We brought our kids here for the Choo Choo breakfast and to see the trains that ran above. We’ve been coming here for 20 years, so it will be sad.”
Paul Smith recalled that it was Tim’s mother and sister, Tootsie, who originally worked in Carol’s predecessor, Pete’s Donuts. Tim’s mother eventually bought the place, and then 17 years ago Tim and Kim took it over full-time.
William McGee said he remembers before Pete’s, it was Benji’s Pizza, and Babe’s Hardware, and then Perotta’s Market.
“That’s 60 years ago,” he laughed.
“You made friends so fast here and Kim is so welcoming,” said Bonnie, who travels to Carol’s with her husband twice a week from Melrose. “You can come in for the first time and order something. The next time you come in, Kim will say, ‘Do you want the usual?’ They’ll remember what you had better than you remember.”
“We had a lot of fun here, that’s for sure,” said Smith.
But all was not lost, according to Dave D’Angelo.
“We’ll all still be here,” he said. “We’ll come and have breakfast and have fun every morning. We’ll break in the new owners really quick, and we’ll still enjoy breakfast here.”
“Yea, and that’s incredible because we don’t even like each other,” joked William McGee.
And so that tradition will continue at Carol’s Café – at least until the end of this week.