A new Fall River restaurant caught the attention of city-goers after the owner paired their Grand Opening announcement with a friendly reminder to “be kind.”

After battling breast cancer while simultaneously running a bartending school, Shannon Raposo feels grateful to see her dream of owning a restaurant come to life.

The restaurant is still coming together, but she and her partner, James Anthony Primo III, are ready to open the doors to Primo Restaurant and bring the Italian culture to Fall River.

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Who Is Shannon Raposo?

Raposo has been working in the restaurant industry since she was 12. She went from doing dishes to managing several restaurants on the SouthCoast and in Providence.

Eventually, she took off the apron and set out to start a bartending school with Primo.

Raposo and Primo have been together since they were 17. Marriage was on the horizon, but plans changed with the arrival of their son.

They planned a wedding again, but a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 halted everything.

Raposo Battles Cancer

“I told doctors I felt a lump in my right breast and they kept telling me it was nothing,” she said. “I went to three different doctors…an MRI finally showed the tumor.”

The next four years consisted of chemotherapy, reconstruction, and eventually, remission.

And while all this was happening, she and Primo opened up a bartending school.

“We built our empire from a small little school off North Main Street and took our time with everything, working our butts off,” she said.

Still in remission and ready for the next business move, the couple got the chance to open Primo Restaurant on Water Street.

READ MORE: Check Out New Bedford's New Spot, New Beige

What to Expect at Primo

All their hard work led them to Water Street. This is the place to go for authentic, homemade Italian food.

“Everything is made in-house, we will be doing a farm-to-table experience,” said Raposo. “Exposed brick walls, open windows, beautiful natural light…it’s great energy here.”

Raposo has put her heart and soul into the place. Signs of her and her family are everywhere.

“We are the anti-chain,” she said. “You’ll come in and see the mismatched chairs. The doilies are from my mother’s wedding fifty years ago. The plants are from my house. Everything here has its own energy source and I want people to feel that.”

By Mother’s Day, Raposo hopes to have the building completed with an outdoor patio. A quick-serve area will be available for pre-made orders, and there will be a unique area to watch the team make their homemade pasta.

“My mom and my aunts are retired, and they’ll have a great space during the day to showcase their baking skills,” said Raposo.

The restaurant is not quite done, leading Raposo and Primo to send a message to future customers.

Always Remember to Be Kind

In a technological world, Raposo aims to remind others that servers and back-of-house workers are humans, too.

“When you come here, remember a human punched in,” she said. “They left their families at home to cook for you and serve you. We want you to relax, enjoy time with friends, and create memories with us. Just be kind.”

The restaurant is still in the process of finishing the menu and putting the finishing touches on the place, but the team is ready to give guests a memorable experience.

“We’ve been through it all, my family…tomorrow is not promised, but I lived to see the day my dream come true,” said Raposo.

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