Julian Barsotti’s decision to open Carbone’s was inspired by his great-grandfather, Angelo Pasquale “James” Carbone, who was born in Naples and immigrated to the United States in 1898 when he was 8 years old. In the late 1920s, Carbone was a waiter at Gallagher’s Steakhouse, in Manhattan, the restaurant and speakeasy frequented by gamblers, show business people, gangsters, and thirsty customers looking for a cocktail during Prohibition.
In 1933, Carbone opened Jimmy’s, a small Italian deli and grocery shop at the corner of 46th and Broadway. In 1941, he renamed it Carbone’s Fine Foods & Liquors and moved his business to Harrison, New Jersey, where it remained open until 1995.
Barsotti grew up in Dallas eating Italian-American food. His grandmother’s Sunday suppers included handmade lasagna, a marvelous Southern-style pot roast, and a bowl of creamed corn. His grandmother on his father’s side lived in Memphis. At Thanksgiving, she served a traditional turkey dinner with a large pan of lasagna.