The Greater Boston area has a number of excellent pastry shops, and many of the better ones seems to be in the neighborhoods and communities just north of the city, perhaps because places such as East Boston, Revere, Saugus, Everett, Malden, and Medford are either heavily Italian or had once been so. One such spot called Spinelli's Pasta and Pastry Shop is a longtime Eastie favorite, but to those who don't know East Boston well, they might think that this Day Square spot is mainly a function/banquet hall, especially if they are familiar with the other location in Lynnfield which is a very popular events space for folks on the North Shore. But the East Boston location (and the Lynnfield location as well, for that matter) also has a retail store that sells all kinds of Italian goodies to people in the neighborhood along with those in the know.
Spinelli's is located in Day Square, which used to be full of Italian restaurants and food shops and which still has some old-school Italian spots, including Jeveli's Restaurant and Mario's. (Cucchiello's Bakery had also been in the neighborhood but it shut down its shop awhile back after being in Eastie for 70 years.) The combination pastry shop/banquet hall resides in a big building and has a parking lot out front--which tends to be a bit of a rarity in East Boston--and the interior space is relatively large for a pastry shop though most of the space is used for the events side of the business. Display cases are filled with all kinds of pastries and baked goods, while a few small tables and a counter along the front window allow for some limited dine-in capability, though Spinelli's is not really meant to be a cafe as some other pastry shops and bakeries are.
Italian pastry shops sometimes offer more than just pastries, and Spinelli's does just that, as can be inferred by its full name (Spinelli's Pasta and Pastry Shop, or Spinelli's Ravioli and Pastry Shop, depending on the person you're talking to). On the pastry/baked goods end of things, you'll find Italian cookies here (the Vienna Cookies, which are made with anise, are especially fine), along with Oreo cheesecake, cannoli, half moons, chocolate chip cookies, M & M cookies, one of the best versions of tiramisu in the city, biscotti (including one with cherries), cakes, and much more. Some prepared takeout items are offered as well, with the Sicilian pizza being a solid option, though the arancini (rice balls with meat or spinach) and panzerotti (potato croquettes) are both outstanding and are well worth ordering. Freshly made pasta and sauces are also available, as are various pre-made frozen Italian meals that can be taken home, and all kinds of meals, sandwiches, calzones, pizzas, and party trays are offered for pickup/delivery, events, functions, and so on. Prices are generally very reasonable, especially when it comes to the pre-made items (the pizza slices, arancini, and panzerotti can be had with pocket change).
While perhaps not a hidden gem to those who live in East Boston, Spinelli's Pasta and Pastry Shop isn't nearly as well known as, say, Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry in Boston's North End, which get much of their business from tourists and other visitors to Boston. But easier parking, fewer lines (no lines, really), low prices, and friendly service make this spot a great alternative for those looking to get some old-fashioned Italian items without the hassle.
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