Owner former Nuclear Scientist
by Karen Fetter
Natalie Carbone Mangini has accomplished a well-rounded life that leaves her with no regrets and a lot of fond memories.
Not only has she carried on her family legacy of managing Carbone’s Italian Restaurant in Crabtree, PA, but she can look back on a career as a nuclear scientist and a mother of four. So when asked what she felt was her greatest accomplishment, she paused not a second and said it was her children.
The story of this amazing woman stretches back to 1928, when she was born to Nat and Mary Carbone. She was one of three children, including her sister Rosalie and her brother Natale. The Carbone family originally settled in the Crabtree area to work in the coal mines. However, when the opportunity presented itself, her father opted for a career as an entrepreneur.
In 1936, Nat Carbone purchased Jamison Coal and Coke Company’s community center building and created a barber shop, candy store, pool room, and bowling alley. The family lived on the second floor and the businesses were on the first floor.
When the building suffered a damaging flood in 1938, Nat decided to start a tavern. He asked his wife three times for permission to acquire a liquor license, but Mary only agreed when he said it would be for a restaurant. She wanted to have a family business where people could bring their children. That’s how Carbone’s Restaurant began.
While growing up, Natalie always worked at the restaurant, whether as a waitress or in the kitchen. But that was not her only interest. Natalie aspired to be a scientist from a young age. She had chemistry sets and performed a lot of her own experiments. It was no surprise that she would go onto college and study chemistry. When Natalie graduated from Seton Hill College in 1949, she soon after found a job with Westinghouse as a nuclear chemist.
When she arrived at Westinghouse for her interview, she found her prospective employers had assumed that her application was from a man. When they discovered she was a woman, they were unsure about whether to proceed with the interview or not. At that time no women were scientists. But since she was there they interviewed her and she ultimately got the job.
Natalie was the only woman to work on the USS Nautilus (the first nuclear attack submarine) and coauthored the first technical procedure used on the atomic submarine for detecting and disposing of radioactive materials. She attended the welcoming ceremonies for the Nautilus after the historic “Under the Ice” North Pole crossing in 1958.
As a result of her achievements Natalie Carbone Mangini has received many honors. They include the Mademoiselle Award of Merit in Atomic Science in 1958, the Award for Distinguished Italian-American Women in 1958, American Chemical Society Affiliates of Seton Hill College Award in 1959, and the Distinguished Alumnae Award for Seton Hill College in 1994.
Natalie had appearances on What’s My Line on August 24, 1958, the Today Show on August 25, 1958, and the Dave Garroway TV Show in 1958. She was also featured in a national advertisement for Seton Hill College that was in Time Magazine and was featured in Mademoiselle Magazine.
She has used her expertise to write and publish four scientific papers and is listed in Who’s Who of American Women and in Who’s Who in Atoms. In the late 1950s, her popularity and accomplishments were at an all time high. Yet there was still one accomplishment that she had not yet achieved she wanted a family.
Natalie married Vincent Mangini and soon after started that family. As soon as she found out she was pregnant she had to leave her job as a nuclear scientist because of the potential danger to her unborn child. She went on to have four children: Vanessa, Natalie, Vincent, and Melissa. Natalie and her husband Vince co-owned Crabtree Oil Company from 1966 to 1991 while raising their family. Natalie now has six grandchildren: Rosalie, David, Patrick, Donovan, Daniel, and Evangeline.
“I have had a wonderful life but my biggest accomplishment has been my children. They are all different and reflect a little of each of our personalities,” said Natalie. After meeting Natalie, who could ever underestimate the strength of a woman or the legacy she has provided both to her family and her community?
While Natalie was concentrating on her family, Nat and Mary Carbone continued on with their restaurant. They were smart, business-minded people. The menu originally consisted of sandwiches, pastas, and salads. But soon a friend that was a regular to the restaurant recommended other items because he and his wife started to gain weight from the pastas and sandwiches. As a result, Nat added meat and fish. The business became a great success and has been a Westmoreland County landmark for generations. Many people became personal friends just from being customers at the restaurant.
In time, they expanded the building and made continuous changes that kept Carbone’s Restaurant lively in the area. In fact, Carbone’s was one of the first restaurants to buy and use a microwave. They also were first to use carpeting in the dining room area and to have a computer order system.
Carbone’s Restaurant was also the first to serve Rolling Rock draft beer and was the longest seller of the local beer.
Natalie’s father passed away in 1981 and her mother in 1993. Currently, her daughter Natalie Stefanick and her son Vincent Mangini manage the restaurant, which continues to do well by maintaining its reputation for great food, its innovative edge, and customer service orientation.
Carbone’s Restaurant can hold banquets for up to 200 people and has four dining rooms for customers. Customers can also buy Carbone’s special sauce and salad dressing. Natalie creates a monthly newsletter for customers and organizes special menu options. Vincent created a Pasta Engineering Contest three years ago for high school students to participate in. Students design bridges out of pasta and whichever bridge can hold the most weight is the winner. The event is one that keeps Carbone’s active in the community.
In her life, Natalie Carbone Mangini has used her hands to make food, power nuclear submarines, and to care for children. After meeting Natalie, who could ever underestimate the strength of a woman or the legacy she has provided both to her family and her community? Stop into Carbone’s Restaurant, located along Route 119 in Crabtree, and see for yourself.
Call 724-834-3430 for more information
or to make a reservation.
Visit the website at www.carbonesrestaurant.com