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Home Cooking

A restaurant where the owner's mother makes the meatballs



ou’ll feel like part of the family at Ristorante Limoncello, which sets itself apart with its charm from the countless Italian restaurants of the North End. The staff occasionally bursts into song, or will offer a quick language lesson. But the real secret is the signature meatballs. They’re made by Concetta Badolato, the mother of owner Maurizio Badolato, all of whose immediate family is involved in the restaurant in some way. The great but little-known backstory: Badoleto was a waiter at another restaurant and won $1 million in the lottery, allowing him to live his dream of opening his own place. As for the limoncello that gives the restaurant its name—a natural liqueur known to help the digestive system and made with lemons grown only on the Italian island of Capri—it’s from his grandmother’s recipe. Vallejo



Actor Danny DeVito introduced his own line of limoncello after appearing on the television show The View, apparently drunk, and blaming it on limoncello. It was too refined to be served in the Boston bar that was the subject of the sitcom Cheers, in which his wife, Rhea Perlman, played a waitress, DeVito said. “Imagine if Norm came in every night and said, ‘Limoncello!'”