The Heights- Article:Food-Mikes Pastry-12/11/2014:
Mike’s Pastry recently opened its doors in Harvard Square—giving customers a taste of the famous desserts and family atmosphere that made the pastry shop a staple of the North End.
Walk into the brand-new Mike’s Pastry in Harvard Sq. and the duo of James Caterino and Danielle Papa will make sure you don’t have to wait long for a cannoli.
Caterino approaches from the kitchen, carrying a tray of fresh black and white cookies, whoopee pies, and chocolate chip cannoli. His apron has turned from a navy color to a chalky white—decorated with frosting remnants and sugary filling. Papa takes the order, quickly grabbing two cannoli from under the counter. She sprinkles a dash of powdered sugar on the savory desserts before placing the treats in the iconic white “Mike’s Pastry” box and tying a knot with string suspended from the blue and white orbs hanging from the ceiling. The two exchange banter between orders, and the next crowd of customers piles through the door.
“We’ve really enjoy working here so far,” Papa said. “Everybody has been super excited about the new location, and the feedback we’ve received has been great.”
Papa and Caterino are both managing supervisors at the new Mike’s Pastry located in Harvard Sq. After 67 years with a single location in Boston’s North End, the pastry shop opened its doors in Cambridge mid-November.
“We were very comfortable in our North End store, and it was basically nailed down to a science over there,” Caterino said. “We knew we could move somewhere else, based on the work ethic shown in our family-run business.”
The story of the family business dates back to the early 20th century. Michael Mercogliano moved to the North End when he was just 9-years-old. His family came over on a boat straight from Italy with virtually nothing: no money, no job prospects, and no formal education. Mercogliano’s education came at his cousin’s bakery in a dilapidated North End building in the early 1900s, where he developed a flair for the cannoli.
Mercogliano went on to establish the original Mike’s Pastry in 1946. Ever since, the iconic store has become a staple in Boston, and world-renown for its tasty treats and cannoli, blue-and-white pastry boxes, and crowds lined up outside the door on a daily basis.
“Mike is probably one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever known,” Caterino said. “His story has really touched and inspired me to make sure the business and product itself are still up to the quality that Mike first created.”