The North End is one of Boston's oldest neighborhoods and has continued to capture the spirit of Italy since being established around 1646. A recurring theme in "Little Italy" is that most of the businesses have been passed down by multiple generations of the families who live there or people who work for them.
Polcari’s Coffee is a prime example of that. Anthony Polcari opened the store in 1932 and it's since been passed down to Bobby Eustace who started working for the family when he was 17 years old.
"The shop has seen a lot of good times, a lot of bad times, but made it through, the little engine that could. 90 years we are here, 90 years at this corner and we become quite popular as a little shop," Eustace shared.
Sulmona Meat Market is named after the town in Italy where Franco Susi's family lived before migrating to Boston. When the butcher shop first opened, it mainly catered to the other families that lived there.
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"A lot of the restaurants keep us going right now, [but] we still have die-hard customers. They still drive in and get parking tickets when they come to pick up their meat," said Susi.
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Next, we stopped by LoGrasso's Barbershop to see the father-son duo Gaetano and Rocco LoGrasso at work. So what can you get done there?
Rocco shared, "We do obviously haircuts and we do the straight edge shave, which my dad is an absolute master of it... If you need a blow dryer or a head wash, neck shave or whatever it is, but mostly haircuts and straight edge."
Cantina Italiana is another example of longevity in the North End. Owner John De Simone explained they've been serving up authentic Italian cuisine since 1931:
"This building has been here since, since the 1800s and obviously evolved until it actually opened a restaurant in the '30s and was called the Italian Canteen, which was a very casual restaurant. The workers in the area that would come in and get a good meal, a good sandwich, or a good pizza for very little money."
When asked what one's go-to order should be, Executive Chef Chuck Colella said, "First thing I ask [guests] is what [do] they like. Veal, pasta? Then I could suggest to them [what to eat]. For me, it's pasta, of course...because we have all homemade pasta here and everything is made in our kitchen."