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Boschetto’s Bakery Closing on Salem Street After 110 Years in North End

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Boschetto’s Bakery Closing Sign – Photo by Adam Castiglioni

Boschetto Bakery on Salem Street – Photo by Adam Castiglioni

After 110 years in the North End, Boschetto’s Bakery has announced that it will close its doors on July 6, 2013 due to an “excessive raise in rent” at 158 Salem Street. Although the retail operation will shut down, a sign in the window announces the bakery will continue to supply commercial customers through an agreement with Parziale’s Bakery on Prince Street.

Boschetto’s Bakery dates back to the late 1800’s when Italian immigrant Andrew Boschetto started making bread in the North End. Ralph (Raffaello) Bruno bought the business in the 1950’s. The Bruno family was the face of Boschetto’s for decades on Salem Street. Current owner Bartolomeo De Stefano started working there around 1960 as a boy. Bart eventually bought the shop from the Bruno’s and was later joined by his brother Rocco and co-owner Mhamed “Ahmed” Idroui.

The North End shop has been a mainstay of neighborhood bread making along with pizza, biscotti and cookies using age-old recipes baked in an 1895 oven.

Thanks to Adam Castiglioni (@ConciergeBoston) for the photos.

Last year, Bostoniano.info visited Boschetto’s and made this video clip of the nightly bread making operations.

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Allison Oliver says:

Oh no that is awful! I had a slice of pizza there every day during my 5 years as a North End dog walker. Elda was always so nice as were all the other girls who worked there over the years! The pizza was the best… I’ve really missed it since i’ve moved. Ironicly after 8 years of loving living and working in the North End, after all the friends i made there, and connections i made with the old timers… i moved as well due to “excessive raise in rent”!

M says:

Greedy Landlords, bottom line, getting top dollar for less than acceptable apts. My son went searching for an apt, and he could not believe the condition of various rental units. It is unreal.What is sad is they want top dollar for a hole in the wall.
Boschetto’s was a staple here…hate to see this happen. And for you skeptics out there, yes I was a regular…loved the pizza and my grandchildren loved their cookies. I loved the smell as I walked by. Many of us are very sad at their closing. Just no need for it! Lived here 30 years now and not liking some of the changes…

Jason Aluia says:

I really do love the commentators on this and other blogs who tell people who lived here all our lives or perhaps moved here during past 20-30 years, but who truly love this neighborhood and care for its well being to “Get Over It”

Here is something short and sweet that you may understand: WE WON’T!

As a society we all understand that things change. Some for the better, some for the worse. In fact our families and friends are the ones who changed this neighborhood from a poor, derelict, cold water tenement district in teh beginning of the past century into the vibrant neighborhood it is today.

For some of us, our history in this country began here, our great-grandparents and grandparents immigrated here. they raised their families here, started businesses, built our churches and the buildings we all live and play in. It was our families who started the local youth programs, sent our kids to local schools and kept them open, and fought to build the North End pool, softball fields and skating rink. It was many others who moved here over the past thirty years or so and decided to also lay down roots and raise their own families. They helped create other neighborhood organizations, music programs, this blog in fact and other activities and resources that make a neighborhood livable and enjoyable for its residents.

I am sorry that we as a community have to lament and reflect on the changes in our neighborhood. But, I am more sorry that people like you don’t understand why we do and why we care.

This neighborhood is not just a collection of brick building that we choose to live in because its close to school or its an easy commute to work or Quincy Market on the weekends. For many of us, this neighborhood is part of who we are, who we choose to be.

For better or worse. North Enders, new and old alike, are like any close knit family: we yell, complain, laugh, celebrate together and yes, even cry over bread, but most of all we care about what happens to one another.

Instead of making snarky comments, why don’t you start caring too!

Kim says:

Jokes on the landlord when he/she can’t find someone to open a store there at that rent price.

It’s so sad to learn of this wonderful bakery closing . . . very sad. I remember visiting Boschetto’s bakery every week as a child w/ my family. Wide-eyed as a child, my nose was filled w/ rich bakery smells. And my ears w/ warm chatter and and eyes w/ friendly people and smiles. Such yummy stuff all around! Oh, such rich memories. Boschetto’s is the best. As time goes along, it seems more and more of the Italian North End ceases, replaced by commercialism. So goes the authentic Italian North End of yesterdays where my grandmother’s siblings owned their home and business long before underground tunnels and overhead expressways were erected.

Customer says:

I wonder how many of the commenters that are “sad” are regular customers? At the end of the day, this is a business that needs customers and enough of them to afford the rent.

John Levensen says:

I’m a regular customer. But being a regular customer has nothing to do w/ anything. Every retail business needs it’s regulars and its walk-up customers to survive.

Rob says:

I was thinking the same thing. Maybe it is the greedy landlord who is giving the thumbs down. This is a loss for everyone, another mom and pop piece of history gone. The people who don’t feel a loss maybe just don’t care about history or tradition and don’t want anything authentic to remain. Put up another starbucks or boutique, patheic.

Andy says:

The bakery business is tough with people eating healthier, gluten allergies, coffee shops popping up everywhere. And in the North End its hard to compete with the places on Hanover and even around the corner who are open all day every day serving everything. I doubt the increase in rent is the entire story here. But I did love the Sicilian slices at Boschetto’s and will miss it.

alex hamilton says:

Finally the voice of reason. I love how everyone immediately blames the greed by the landlord….I mean come on are people saying the other costs for the bakery didn’t go up. But don’t give me this ridiculous “its disgusting” attitude about. I’m sure this “excessive increase” in rent is due the fact that the rent was held for some time…Last time I checked a landlord isn’t suppose to be a charity business, there goal is to make a profit just like the bakery…if that makes they landlord disgusting you clearly missed the economics class..is it to bad..yup..but that’s the way the world works I don’t think Boschetto’s should get a free pass since its been in business the longest

vin c says:

Alex, I agree that the ‘rent’ is but a small reason for this decision to close. I think the bigger reason is the change in the North End over the past 30-40 years. With the mass exodus of the Italians to the suburbs the demand for Boschetto’s goods has diminished. I grew up around the corner from Boschetto on Sheafe in the 70’s got married and moved out. But my whole family bought at the bakery for nearly 30 years, but like everything else change is bound to happen.

Carmine says:

Sorry Alex – I know the story. If the rent went up just 10%, the bakery would still be there. By “excessive rent” we mean 7x more than what we were originally paying. I have no problem with people making money but that increase was absurd. Maybe if the bakers were younger, they would take on the challenge but then, if you missed the economics class, we would be paying $15.00 for a loaf of bread.

STM says:

If a landlord is only getting one-seventh of the rent he could be from a tenant, then he’s an idiot if he doesn’t raise that rent. We don’t expect a bakery to sell bread for 15 cents a loaf.

This is sad, but business is dog-eat-dog.

Stephen Passacantilli says:

Alex
People are angry because the “neighborhood” is disappearing due to the rental market and yes to some extent greed!! There really is no one group or individual to blame however a good landlord (or good neighbor shall we say) would try to make this work. Believe me there are good landlords in this neighborhood willing to negotiate with life long residents and businesses. I’ve been part of those discussions personally. That’s what a neighborhood is Alex Hamilton, people looking out for one another and caring about one another. If you had a neighbor that was starving, would you feed that person if you could?? If your neighbor was sick and couldn’t afford medicine, would you offer a helping hand?? The new people and young families who move here do so because of the “neighborhood” atmosphere, the local amenities and the culture (butcher shop’s, bakery’s…ect.) and the people.
In this case a neighborhood institution that exemplifies what this neighborhood is now gone and the new landlord will probably attempt to convert the space to residential and then hire one of our local “irresponsible” real estate agencies who will then rent to the first applicant that can produce a check for the first and last!!! I hate to assume but I am going to assume that you are not here for long haul. Do you live in the North End?? If so why did you choose the North End?? Believe me, there is no doubt that in some cases local property owners (North Enders) have sold out to the highest bidder and that is where the problem starts. It’s a numbers game, I get it!! Plenty of fault to go around here but your clearly in left field with a hockey stick on this matter. Not to mention the property owners are located in Argentina!! You think they give a rats ass who lives and rents in their building?? You think they care about a bakery and it’s hard working employees?? If you would like to have a coffee and discuss this in person I would be more that happy to do so…..on me!!

Stephen Passacantilli
Proud life long resident of the greatest neighborhood on “earth”!!!!

Michael Mastandrea says:

Well put.I wish that people that move into the neighborhood stop calling themselves North Enders when they have been living there for a few years.

Kd says:

Landlord is from Argentina?,,buying up property driving people and businesses out of a neighborhood,,I don’t see how unless u r fortunate enough that ur family kept its bldg that there r residents who been there 30 or more yrs,,u don’t see that today,,just like it always been,,,all about the money!

jane says:

Alex, It makes me sick to see you make a comment as this when you have no idea what your talking about. This Bakery has stayed in business all these years by hard work. To say they are looking charity or a free ride. Yes the landlord has a right for receiving a profit but not a killing .

John Levensen says:

The rent is the entire story….check out Carmine’s post. Could you continue to live in your place if the rent went up sevenfold?

Eastie Latino says:

Would you continue to rent a place you owned for 7x LESS than the market rate?

Michael Mastandrea says:

what do you people who just moved into the North End call themselves North Enders but are not, it is about the money,People that were owners(BRUNO FAMILY) Came to this country with only the clothes they were wearing,worked their ass off to build a business.Nothing was handed to them.They put a lot of sweat and long hours to get a business to last so long.So stop talking about things you no nothing about and stop calling yourself North Enders when you only live there.

Landlord GREED rears its very ugly head again. Terribly sad.

M says:

Maybe thumbs down cuz they’re closing!!!

John Levensen says:

What;s puzzling is…why would anyone rate any of these comments about Boschetto’s as a “thumbs down”? I guess there are a lot of ignorant, miserable people out there who would “thumbs down” everything/anything.

MB says:

Sad. Does anyone know what will be going in there?
Oh, wait, let me guess….another Italian restaurant?

Lucy (Giorgio) pirkey says:

Shame on that landlord. I think it is amazing that so many people journalists etc do articles on the special character of the neighborhood but do not preserve it . Another piece of history, like the westend , lost to the need for ore money!

Josie Gala says:

Being a former West Ender,I can vouch for the “Death of a Wonderful Neighborhood”! What the BRA did back in the 1950’s would be considered murder today. Many elderly who were not moving out fast enough, because these were their homes for years, the BRA would shut off their water and electricity and bring in the wrecking cranes to start tearing down the buildings with the people still living in them. So once again “greed” destroyed a bakery that made the neighbored desirable to live there…..

vincent Bravoco says:

What a shame!!!! What’s the matter with the landlord?? He must be money hungry letting this institution just disappear from the North End .This is a DISGRACE!!! I was born and grew up in the North End for 30 yrs and when I saw this I couldn’t believe it Pretty soon nothing will be left but a bunch of restaurants, the old times will be gone forever, and there will nothing left to remember the Italian immigrants that came here with nothing and started these businesses and worked from morning to night just to make a living. Nothing was given to them like it is today!!!!

Jacqueline G. says:

Boschetto’s Bakery, you will be a void that Salem Street will never be able to replace.

Throughout the years of being a resident here of the North End, I was fortunate enough to come to know Boschetto’s as more than just a bakery. Two years ago, during my move from Prince Street up to my current residence on Hull Street, Boschetto’s helped move couches and furniture during the middle of the night for no reason other than that they saw that there was no one else around to help out.

That wasn’t the only time Boschetto’s took advantage to opportunity to help their community. On a more macro scale of community service, Boschetto’s was the first to open their doors and donate baskets full of breads, cookies, and pastries that were being collected to send over to the doctors and staff working over-time at MGH in the immediate days after this years Boston Marathon Bombings.

Above all, what I will miss most about Boschetto’s is the smell of nostalgia–for old country Italy; a smell that has welcomed me home every night for the past four years.

We will miss you.

*It should also be noted that other participating bakeries who, along with Boschetto’s, donated to MGH for the doctors responding to Marathon victims: Parziale’s, Bova’s and Modern Pastry. Thank you to all who helped out.

Denise says:

That’s just so sad.

SCM says:

That is so sad!!! We hate to see such wonderful, historic places leave the North End. So unfortunate the landlord feels the need to raise the rent so high and drive out a great piece of our neighborhood.

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