Sharon Boccelli does not have a restaurant background, but she says, with a laugh, "I come from a big Italian family, so I thought, 'How hard could it be?' Ha!"
There is a lot of humor and irony sprinkled throughout Sharon's conversation. She's got a little Boston accent and a lot of Boston attitude.
Boccelli's on the Canal on Canal Street in Bellows Falls is in fact her first restaurant. Prior to that she was in the auction business in Cambridge, MA, a business from which, she says, she is semi-retired. What got her into the restaurant business, she says, is that she fell in love with the building that houses Boccelli's.
The one story brick building had long been unoccupied, but at one time it was owned by the Bellows Falls Cooperative Creamery and was where the creamery repaired and maintained its delivery trucks. It was big enough so that when Sharon had it remodeled, she was able to create a restaurant space with one part of it and an open area for auctions on the other.
That space has most frequently been used for live music and art events, especially after the former Oona's Restaurant in The Square burned and the lobby space used for concerts in the Hotel Windham was no longer available. Sharon says hosting a lot of live music at the restaurant is a double-edged sword - it brings in a lot of new faces and businesses, but some of her regulars won't come on music nights because it's too busy.
Despite it's name, Boccelli's is not just an Italian restaurant.
"I'd say we have an eclectic menu kind of bent toward Italian food," Sharon said. "We use a lot of local products, and I don't think people know that about us. Our cheeses, salads, burgers, vegetables, and meats we try to get all local and organic. We try to buy from as many local growers as possible.