Home > The Restaurant

The Restaurant
Author: Pamela M. Kelley

Introduction

 

 

Three sisters inherit a Nantucket restaurant they never knew their grandmother owned and they must work there together for one year or it all goes to the chef.

 

Mandy, Emma and Jill are as close as three sisters who live hundreds of miles apart can be. They grew up together on Nantucket, but Mandy is the only one that stayed.

 

Jill lives a glamorous life in Manhattan as a co-owner of a successful executive search firm. Never married, she is in her mid-thirties and lives in a stunning, corner condo with breathtaking views of the city and Hudson river. Everyone thinks there's something going on with her partner, Billy, because as a workaholic, she spends more time with him than anyone else. There never has been, but Jill is starting to wonder if there could be.

Emma lives in Arizona and is an elementary school teacher and an aspiring photographer. She met her college professor husband, Peter, in grad school and they've been married for fifteen years. In recent years, she's noticed that Peter has grown distant. But when he shares a surprising secret, she doesn't see it coming and her world is turned upside down.

Mandy has two children and is married to her college sweetheart, Cory, who runs a wildly successful hedge fund from Nantucket. Now that the children are older, Mandy has more free time and is eager to do more than just volunteer with local charity events. But Cory doesn't want her to work. He thinks it doesn't reflect well on him and appearances are everything to Cory. Though when Mandy finds something unusual in his gym bag, she begins to question what is really going on.

The girls are stunned when they learn about the restaurant, Mimi's Place and the condition their grandmother added to the will, leaving the restaurant equally to Mandy, Emma, and Jill--and also to Paul, the chef for the past twelve years, and Emma’s first love.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Jill O’Toole wasn’t supposed to be surfing the net on a busy Thursday afternoon. Her to-do list was a mile long and the most pressing item was front and center on her desk. A crisp, three-page excel spreadsheet of candidate research that her assistant had printed out, highlighted, paper-clipped and delivered to her an hour ago. Names and numbers of people she needed to call ASAP.

Instead, she was mesmerized by a food blog, which was one of her guilty pleasures. It featured mouthwatering photos and recipes accompanied by related stories that made her long to be home puttering around her own kitchen, slicing and dicing, stirring and tasting. No time to browse today however, for she was on a mission to find a fool-proof recipe for the kind of rich, dense and fudgy chocolate cake that would inspire moans at the first bite. Jill could almost always tell just by reading the recipe what a dish would taste like, and she knew that the one she’d just found was as close to the signature dessert at Mimi’s Place as she was going to get. Hopefully, Grams would agree.

For as long as she could remember, they’d always gone to Mimi’s Place for Gram’s birthday. An elegant, two-storied restaurant that was walking distance from Gram’s Nantucket home, Mimi’s Place served Italian-influenced meals that were simple, yet exquisite comfort food. Certain dishes, such as their wafer-thin eggplant parmesan, were so amazing that Jill finally gave up ordering them anywhere else.

Usually, these birthdays consisted of just the immediate family—Jill and her sisters, Emma and Mandy. Mandy’s husband Cory and their two young children, Blake and Brooke were always there too since they lived on Nantucket. But Emma’s husband Peter usually stayed home in Phoenix. He barely knew Grams, and it was just so far to come. Plus, Emma mentioned once that Peter didn’t think that Grams was overly fond of him. Evidently Grams was a good judge of character, because Emma and Peter separated two months ago.

Jill and her sisters had always been close to Grams, but even more so since their mother passed away almost twelve years ago, after an unexpected and short battle with pancreatic cancer. Their father had followed six months later. The doctors called it a massive coronary, Grams said it was simply a broken heart.

Last year, when Grams turned ninety, they threw a real party at Mimi’s Place. Grams had always been a social butterfly, eating out once, if not twice, a day because she couldn’t justify cooking for one. All her friends that were still living and able to make it, came, along with what seemed like most of Nantucket. Everyone knew and loved Grams and wanted to pay their respects. They filled the entire restaurant, and it was quite a party. This year, however, would be different. Grams had decided about nine months ago that it was time to downsize. Her house, just off Nantucket’s Main Street, where she’d lived for over fifty years, was too big.

“As much as I hate to admit it, the stairs are killing me, and I don’t have the energy to start renovating now. I’m going to move into assisted living at Dover Falls.”

Still determined and feisty at barely five feet tall and maybe ninety-five pounds, Grams had smiled brightly and added, “Connie Boyle is there. She goes to Foxwoods casino once a quarter. There’s a whole busload that goes. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

A month after making her announcement, it was a done deal. Grams sold two other properties that she’d owned for many years and rented out to summer tourists. She wasn’t ready to part with her main residence though, or even to rent it out just yet.

Grams settled in quickly at Dover Falls and always sounded happy whenever Jill or one of her sisters called, but recently she admitted to feeling a bit under the weather. A nasty bout of bronchitis had turned into pneumonia and left her so weak that she didn’t have the strength to venture out at all, let alone make the traditional trip to Mimi’s Place. Gram’s suite at Dover Falls had a small kitchen they could use, so the new plan was for Jill to make the cake ahead of time, and then just see what everyone was in the mood for when they all arrived.

Jill was mentally making a shopping list of the ingredients she’d need for the cake when an instant message from her assistant flashed on the computer screen,

Billy’s on his way in. I told him you were busy, but he wouldn’t listen. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

Thank God for Jenna. She was the best assistant Jill had ever had and she couldn’t imagine working without her.

“I knew you weren’t on the phone,” Billy said as he barged into the office and sat on the edge of her desk. He picked up the spreadsheet of names. “Have you even called any of these yet? You know how important this search is?”

Jill sighed. Her partner, Billy Carmenetti, was prone to drama. He wore expensive suits, drove a shiny new BMW, and had house accounts at several of the hottest restaurants. If you didn’t know him better, you’d think Billy wanted people to think he was someone important. But Jill did know better. She knew that he just liked nice things, because he’d grown up without them. At six foot two, with thick, almost black hair, dark brown eyes that perpetually danced with mischief, and a long, lean body, toned from daily gym workouts, Billy was hard to miss.

But, he was also one of the most generous people she knew, and one of the nicest, even if he did drive her crazy on a daily basis. They’d been best friends and business partners for well over a decade and it was only a month ago Jill realized that she might be in love with him. The idea had slammed into her, fully formed and obvious, and she was struggling with what to do about it.

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