DORCHESTER (CBS) — They say home is where the heart is–and at Ester in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester, it’s also where the meatballs, mussles, and steak are, too.

Mussels at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

Mussels at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

Eleanor Arpino has lived in this neighborhood for decades, and she’s worked in restaurants her entire life. So when she got the chance to open her own restaurant, in her own neighborhood, she jumped at the opportunity.

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“I knew that the neighborhood needed a neighborhood place to be run by a neighbor,” says Arpino.

Steak and fries at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

Steak and fries at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

And Ester has quickly become like a second home for both Eleanor and her customers. They pack the beautiful patio, relax at the bar, or settle into the intimate dining room, where the menu is filled with upscale comfort food favorites like homemade salt and vinegar potato chips, crispy fried calamari, juicy pork loin, and roasted chicken.

“The food is wonderful and something that you want to eat 2 or 3 nights a week. So it’s sort of as good as being at home, and as reasonably priced, but also wonderful to actually be out.”

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Fried calamari at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

Fried calamari at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

And all of the food is always made with the freshest possible ingredients, many of which come straight from the restaurant’s own sprawling rooftop garden.

“You’ve got this great roof and you’ve got all this real estate and it’s amazing,” says Arpino.

Roasted chicken at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

Roasted chicken at Ester in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

And customers are amazed every time they visit Ester, because this local lady wants to give her neighbors the best experience she can.

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“We live literally a two minute walk from here, and we’ve been in the neighborhood for 30 years, and it’s just wonderful,” says Arpino. “The joke always is, it has to be a success, because I don’t want to have to move and I don’t want to have to wear a disguise.”