Mark Perfetti didn't want to sound corny, but he said he felt more than pride as he watched his daughter, Kate Perfetti, working the cash register at the pizza shop she had just opened in Norwell.
Given the precarious state of the economy, Perfetti felt he had helped create a way for his family to support itself and take care of each other for years to come.
"I felt we needed to take control over our own destiny," the 56-year-old Scituate resident said on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sal's Pizza, the franchise he co-owns with his 28-year-old daughter.
The ribbon cutting -- attended by Norwell's three selectmen and several members of the Chamber of Commerce -- came three weeks after the pizza shop opened its doors on Dec. 23, and 14 years after Kate Perfetti decided she wanted her own restaurant.
"I don’t even know if it feels real yet," she said.
Kate Perfetti -- who grew up in Marshfield and lives in Humarock -- says she has wanted to own her own restaurant since she was in high school, when she worked as a busser at Humarock’s Bridgeway Inn, then owned by her uncle. Kate’s mother, Karen Perfetti, also worked at the Bridgeway Inn.
At Sal's Pizza on Grove Street, which is the first Sal's to open on the South Shore and the 43rd franchise for the company, Kate Perfetti employs several family members, just as her uncle did years ago. Her brother Renato, 30, is one of the pizza chefs and her cousin Jacqui, a 17-year-old junior at Scituate High School, works the counter.
Karen Perfetti, a maternity nurse at the South Shore Hospital, also pitches in on busy nights and helped decorate the interior of the restaurant, which can seat up to 35 people.
"I had to stay within an Italian theme...but I added my own personal touch," Karen Perfetti said.
Selectman Richard Merritt said he was pleased that the restaurant employs 10 people -- four full-time and six part-time -- and said his family's dinner Friday would be at Sal’s.
"It was very, very good," Merritt said.
Kate Perfetti said she "fell in love" with the Sal's franchise, but still dreams of opening her own Italian bistro one day. In the meantime, her father says the family is working to open three to five more Sal's Pizza shops on the South Shore over the next three years.
Though the restaurant faced some opposition to its application for a liquor license, which it eventually received, Mark Perfetti said his restaurant has become a popular place in the neighborhood.
"We’ve been accepted by the community," he said.
Not everyone eating there on Wednesday was from the Norwell. Bob Bisanti, 20, lives in Norwich and was in Norwell for work. The HVAC technician, dressed in paint-splattered jeans and a sweatshirt, said he did not want fast food for lunch and had seen advertisements for Sal's on TV.
His calzone was "delicious," he said as he eyed the cannolis, which Kate Perfetti says are made on-site.
Would he come back on another occasion?
"Sure, if I’m in the area," he said.