Italian Accents

A retro North End shop with great Italian coffee

Condidorio_PolcariPhoto: Tracy Condidorio

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ot just another North End coffee shop, Polcari’s Coffee has been a neighborhood staple for 77 years. Its shelves and shelves of jars filled with spices, beans, and extracts from around the world, wooden barrels of flour, grains, and rice, baskets of old-school candies, vintage register, and family photos on the walls all make you feel like you’re back in 1932, when the store was established. But while Polcari’s (not to be confused with the restaurant of the same name) has an impressive stock of spices, pastas, cheeses, and cold-cuts, the pinnacle of the shop is its coffees. With more than 27 varieties from around the word including some of the top brands from Italy, it’s hard to choose. The owner is more than happy to guide you through the selection of beans, weigh them on the 100-year-old scale, and personally grind them for you. On a hot day, stop by Polcari’s for some authentic homemade lemon slush. Arpie

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A retired produce salesman named James “Nini” Limone sat almost every day in a folding chair in front of Polcari’s in a tailored suit and Borsalino hat singing Frank Sinatra songs and serving as the North End’s unofficial greeter. When he died in 2004, the chair was filled with flowers in his honor.

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