NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The Mello Family has owned and operated M&C Café since 1967, located on Belleville Avenue, and Saturday night [January 25th] was their final night open to the public.
“My mom and dad both worked in the mills, and my father didn’t want to work for anyone else.,” said Mike Mello, co-owner of M&C Café. “He had heard this place was for sale. He came home to my mother and said we are going to own a restaurant.”
The restaurant’s namesake comes from his parents – Manny and Cathy.
This restaurant has been part of Mike Mello’s life since he was 6-year-old. As upsetting as it is for him to sell the restaurant, it’s even more upsetting for his mother Cathy.
“My mom is 83-years, she still works here every day,” said Mello. “She works her heart out – this is a little upsetting to her, because, this is like her child.”
Susan York of Fairhaven told Eyewitness News, she was given a job at the restaurant while she was in college.
“I even worked here as a dish-washer,” said York. “When I was in college, in my final year, I was a single parent with two kids. A friend of mine and my sister worked here and was able to get me a job here.”
York says the restaurant is apart of the rich Portuguese community.
“I have always come here – lots of people come here – and they do come here for the Portuguese food,” she said.
York says it’s a familiarity for many people living in and around New Bedford. “I will miss it, a lot of people will miss it. I think we will regret that we didn’t come as often.”
Mike Mello told Eyewitness News, many people like Susan York, are coming in to dine for the final time.
“A lot of people are coming in that have been loyal customers for many years,” said Mello. “Even some people we haven’t seen in years – or – people that because this was their parent’s favorite restaurant and they’ve passed away – so today they are paying them a bit of homage.”
Mello will miss those in his community. Like those who stepped in to help his family on January 24th, 2007 after a fire at the restaurant.
For Mello, all that is left is to thank his customers for over half a century of loyalty.
“I am very thankful for everyone over all the years – thank you all.”