Barker comes from a long line of legendary Boston food purveyors. Serving the best as a family has been their business for decades. In 1963, Pauli’s grandfather opened Pace’s grocery in the North End. His uncle opened J. Pace & Sons gourmet grocery while his father bought Caruso’s Market on Salem Street.
Almost all of Pauli’s childhood memories are of these stores, being around food and family simultaneously and loving every minute of it. He’s all smiles when he talks about frying pounds and pounds of cutlets at 9 years old. This is where he started to learn about food and fell in love with the creative side of cooking.
Armed with creativity and a war chest full of recipes, Pauli is dedicated to creating “crazy, funky sandwiches.” People are definitely noticing, especially when he goes a little wild with his monthly specials. In November, their Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich, The Gobbler, was features in Zagat.
Their next special, though, is what will reel you in. The Soul Mate is a burger to keep you warm on Valentine’s Day if you’re all alone. It will be love at first bite — a Black Angus beef burger topped with bacon, three mozzarella sticks, cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, lettuce and a creamy chipotle ranch dressing.
Pauli is certainly not alone in this business. He has two daughters that love to cook and will work in the shop when they’re old enough, his wife helps with marketing, and they’re still using his mother’s recipes. The proud owner of Nicole’s in the North End, Pauli’s mother, Maria, spent years perfecting her sauce recipes, working on it up until she retired. They are now used in the shop every day. She even comes in for random taste tests for quality control.
Crowds pour in constantly, especially for breakfast on the weekends. Every slice of French toast is hand dipped and made fresh. Pair that with their extra crispy bacon and you’re in weekend heaven. They are working on a new angle on French toast that blew my mind. Not to give too much away, but be on the lookout for a pan size serving and have forks at the ready!
Pauli’s North End is located at 65 Salem St. in Boston. For more information, call
857-284-7064 or visit paulisnorthend.com.