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When the paper went up over the windows recently, several folks asked about the future of Nick’s Varano’s Famous Deli at 66 Cross Street in the North End.

Nick tells us that he is just making some changes to the interior and plans to re-open soon with a new name and menu. “The deli wasn’t working for the last five years, so time for some changes,” said Varano who is well-known for his successful Strega Ristorante and NICO on Hanover Street and the Strega Waterfront at Fan Pier.

The new name and concept is still under wraps. Last year, Varano received support from both North End / Waterfront neighborhood groups for a new beer and wine license at the location.

On the Freedom Trail, the Cross Street Plaza was hoped to be the “Gateway to the North End” between Hanover and Salem Streets. Citizens Bank is the long-term leaseholder, but it has been challenging for some businesses to make it work at the location along the Greenway. It was about this time last year when Caffe Graffiti closed its doors on the corner of Cross and Salem Streets. An expected new bakery / cafe, Bread and Butter has yet to open at that location.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. cross street definitely seems to be a tough spot – not really that inviting for patrons who want to wander further into the neighborhood.

    • Maybe something that would make it more inviting would be to remove the parking spots that boarder the road? They (city likely, after approval) could plant some trees to add in definition for some more outdoor type dining during the summer months. Some of the issue may be that it feels too much like a road or a place to pass through rather than a gateway.

      Just a thought.

  2. Maybe not charging over $10 for a poorly made grilled cheese sandwich would help. The owners that have picked to go in at the old martignettis renting to be “local” and take advantage of tourists the same time and it is obvious. Locals won’t go there bc we know better.

    • Agreed. I had possibly the worst tuna melt I’ve ever had here (someone should explain that “melt” means the sandwich ought to be warm and the cheese melted). If you have a quality product and/or fantastic service, people will come.

  3. it’s bad when the first tourist trap in a sea of tourist traps can’t even attract enough tourists. why not put in a restaurant that plays stereotypical mafia movies and is covered with pictures of the owner? oh wait…

  4. it’s almost like some of the north end restauranteurs have never been outside the north end. small places like the Varano Deli can be really popular – what we need more of are boutique bars/lounges.

    • or *GASP* a place that serves cuisine that is not italian. Sushi Bar? Raw Bar? A Bar showcasing Massachusetts Beers and Wines?

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