Looking for more room to bake their goods, owners of the North End’s Modern Pastry bought the Piccola Venezia restaurant on Oct. 10 to expand their pastry shop.
John Picariello, the co-owner of Modern Pastry, said the store needs more space to serve its customers and they tried to buy the building next door two other times, but this is the first time the deal has worked out.
“We bake on three floors as it is,” he said. “We’re on the basement, first floor and second floor. Our lines are ridiculously long, and the biggest problem is I just can’t take care of the people. I can only get so much staff behind the counter [and] the point is to be able to service my customers.”
Modern Pastry, located at 257 Hanover St., opened in 1930 and has only expanded once before in 2006 when it gained 500 square feet behind its counter.
Picariello said the Modern Pastry staff aim to open the expanded space to the public by Christmas, but the project may last until mid-January depending on construction.
The expansion will have a positive impact on business and is looking forward to having more space, he said.
“It’ll finally be large enough to actually service my customers so I won’t lose customers … they won’t walk away,” Picariello said.
Modern Pastry’s biggest rival, Mike’s Pastry, is located a block away at 300 Hanover St. and has a much larger space, but Picarello does not view Mike’s Pastry as a threat to his business.
“I don’t look at them as competition,” he said. “I just see them as two pastry shops doing business on the street.”
Erin Saynisch, manager at Thinking Cup, another pastry and coffee shop on Hanover Street, said the shop’s pastries are often overlooked because of its proximity to Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry.
“A lot of people don’t know that we do pastries, so when they come in, they’re coming in for a cup of coffee,” she said. “As far as Mike’s and Modern, they’re super famous, but we tend to think our pastries are better.”
Saynisch said the expansion of Modern Pastry would not impact business at Thinking Cup.
“I don’t think it will have a huge effect,” she said. “Our clientele base is growing up here. We only opened in December, so I think it is not really a threat.”
Several residents said they were aware of the intense rivalry between Mike’s and Modern and are looking forward to Modern’s expansion.
Jason Tarasovic, 28, resident of Back Bay, said the expansion would not necessarily affect the business that Modern receives.
“I think a lot of places in Boston have a certain charm because of their size, but I hope it will do better for them,” he said. “I feel that in this area the people who are coming to get pastries either at Mike’s or Modern are not really looking at the site itself, so I don’t think it’s going to drastically change the volume of business that they get.”
Andretti Stanziani, 26, resident of the North End, said Modern’s expansion would hurt other businesses, including Mike’s.
“As far as Modern Pastry [is concerned], I think it will do great,” he said. “It will hit Mike’s Pastry a lot because they’re four times the size of what Modern is now, so if Modern expands it will be bigger than Mike’s, and people that are typically going to Mike’s … will probably go to Modern which for us, for the locals, is better. It will probably take Mike’s business and maybe Modern will become more popular.”
Antonia Navarro, 87, resident of the North End, said the expansion would benefit the shop in terms of growth of popularity.
“They’re going to make it something like Mike’s with tables because it’s a small place now, very small,” he said. “I know they’re going to fix it up really nice. They do really good business, they’re very well known all over the world, so they will continue to grow and do well.”
Alice Bazerghi contributed to the reporting of this article.