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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nashua pizzeria owner plans to serve coffee, hot food to snowplow drivers

NASHUA – Maria Borino was 25 years old and five months pregnant when she snowplowed streets one winter for a Lexington, Mass., company.

“Guys used to say, ‘I make so much an hour,’ and I wanted to do it, but they’d said ‘Girls can’t plow,’ ” Borino said. “Not only was I the best plow person they had – they gave me a brand new truck with a brand new plow on it.” ...

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NASHUA – Maria Borino was 25 years old and five months pregnant when she snowplowed streets one winter for a Lexington, Mass., company.

“Guys used to say, ‘I make so much an hour,’ and I wanted to do it, but they’d said ‘Girls can’t plow,’ ” Borino said. “Not only was I the best plow person they had – they gave me a brand new truck with a brand new plow on it.”

Seventeen years later, Borino still hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to push snow for 24 hours straight or more – on little sleep and nowhere to find food but a few fast-food restaurants and convenience stores that stayed open during blizzards.

“There was this one breakfast place that was always open, but obviously they weren’t open at night,” Borino said. “Other than that, there’s nothing. … You never got a healthy option.”

That’s why Borino, who opened Pizzeria Maria at 295 Daniel Webster Highway three months ago, spent Friday morning mixing homemade pizza dough and sauce, spreading cheese, and chopping sausage and pepperoni for any plow truck drivers who might be braving the colossal
snowstorm predicted to
descend on Greater Nashua this weekend.

Along with her Sicilian pizza and calzones for sale, Borino planned to offer free cups of coffee to plow drivers throughout the storm and into Friday night, plus comfy leather easy chairs for them to rest on for a few minutes during their shifts.

And she planned to stay open as long as the snow kept falling Friday – despite predictions for 2 feet or more in the region. Daniel Webster Highway grew more and more desolate as the day wore on.

“I love the snow,” Borino said. “I’d rather have it be all-out or nothing.”

While other Nashua business owners closed shop Friday because of city parking bans or in anticipation of the blizzard conditions predicted, Borino scribbled away at one of her high-top tables, creating a poster calling, “Plow people, we are open!”

Armed with a coffeepot, a pile of pillows and blankets, and candles, she said she was prepared to help any local plow drivers who wanted a break.

“You’re out all night,” Borino said. “You get to a point where you don’t really care about showering. Everybody’s at that same level – you just have so much more to do.”

She planned to keep cooking pizza and calzones into Saturday morning. And her ovens are gas operated, so a potential loss of power wouldn’t stop her, either.

“My husband thinks I’m crazy,” Borino said with a laugh.

But Borino also thinks her husband, Ron, and her daughter, Hailee, might change their tune and join her if Nemo wipes out power at home in Westford, Mass. – which is a regular happening with storms there, she said.

And there’s nowhere else Borino would rather be, doing her dream job after spending a long career in accounting and business operations, dabbling in bartending service along the way.

“I love cooking,” Borino said. “We entertain a lot, and I’m always cooking way too much, my husband says, so it works out perfectly. … I just want this to be the fun, last thing that I do after a lot of stressful jobs.”

Pizzeria Maria also will be open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday.

“Tomorrow will be fun because people will be trying to venture out,” Borino added. “That’s what I love about New Englanders. You know you shouldn’t be out there.”

Maryalice GIll can be reached at 594-6490 or mgill@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Gill on Twitter (@Telegraph_MAG).