If It's Good Enough For Vito Spatafore ...
The Sopranos actor creates the most popular sandwich at Pauli's Restaurant on Salem Street in the North End.
You could almost say North Reading resident Paul Barker was born in a North End shop.
His grandfather started Pace’s Grocery on Salem Street in the North End of Boston in 1966 where Paul worked when he was a child.
His father bought Caruso’s Market on Salem Street in the 1970s, his mother started Nicole’s Restaurant just across the road in the 1980s and his uncle started J. Pace & Sons on Cross Street around the same time.
So Barker grew up helping out in family businesses and – when he wanted to start his own – knew this was the neighborhood for him.
What makes this restaurant stand out?
“I worked here most of my life and thought the community needed something different,” said Paul who opened Pauli’s at 65 Salem Street on June 1, 2011.
“I thought the North End needed something else with fresh, quick and affordable food that’s appealing to people of all ages.”
Paul said there aren’t many breakfast options in the area so his restaurant serves eggs and associated side dishes as well as 10 different types of salads made to order, wraps and pasta.
In particular, Paul said the sandwiches at Pauli’s are fun, special and aren’t offered elsewhere.
One of the most popular is The Vito – a fusion of Cuban and Italian.
Favorite experience from the time Pauli’s has been opened
That sandwich came about by chance.
Soon after Pauli’s opened, Joe Gannascoli – best known for his role as Vito Spatafore in The Sopranos – was filming a promotional video on Salem Street.
He wandered into the restaurant and said: “This is cool.”
Paul told him he had just opened and Joe asked if could make him something to eat.
When Paul agreed, Joe went right into the kitchen and looked around at the ingredients that were there.
“The next thing I knew, he was behind the counter, making a sandwich,” Paul said. “And that’s how The Vito was born. We sold three while Joe was in the restaurant.”
Any changes needed that would help businesses in the neighborhood?
Paul said his restaurant is promoting an ecologically friendly business.
“We don’t leave a carbon footprint but, rather, use electric and pedal bicycles for all our deliveries,” he said.
With his restaurant’s awareness, Paul would like the city to keep up its good work encouraging bicycle riding and walking even more.
“It’s good for the environment and everyone who lives and works here,” he said.
Pauli’s offers a catering business as well. For additional information on prices and the full menu, go to www.paulisnorthend.com The restaurant also has a Facebook page with pictures and family history.