ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Michael Cucchiello Jr. sprinkles flour onto a pile of ricotta cookie dough.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
SAUGUS — Cucchiello’s Bakery is bringing something sweet from East Boston to Cogliano Plaza.
The iconic 70-year-old bakery is not the only one making the move from Eastie to Saugus, according to the Cucchiello family,
“People have been calling Saugus ‘East Boston North,’” said Michael Cucchiello Jr. “We have customers walking through the door who we haven’t seen in 10 to 15 years.”
His dad Michael Cucchiello Sr. joined the family business at 16 years old. At the time, the bakery had two locations, one in Woburn’s four corners and the other in Somerville, and needed an extra pair of hands in the kitchen. He’s been there ever since.
He now runs the bakery with his son, but once worked with his brothers; Augustino “Cookie” Cucchiello, Gabriel “Sonny” Cucchiello, Frank “JuJu” Cucchiello, and Richie Cucchiello.
About half a dozen family members, mostly nephews, still help out part time. But anyone who goes in to hang around is thrown an apron and put to work.
The shop’s Italian bread and trays of pizza have stood the test of time and remain among customer’s favorite items. Decades ago, children would stop in at the Day Square bakery for a .50 slice on their way to school and eat it before the first bell rang, Cucchiello Sr. said.
“We called it breakfast of champions,” he said. “The kids who used to come by for pizza in the morning now have their families in Saugus.”
Today, the price for a slice has gone up to $1.50 and a tray costs $28 rather than $12, but Cucchiello insists that the taste hasn’t changed.
“Our recipes have stayed the same,” he said. “That’s why people like it.”
The shop has also added pastries, pies, lunches, dinners, and hot and cold subs to the menu. Champagne cookies, biscotti, butter cookies, canolis, lemon squares and ricotta cookies are among the most popular treats.
The family has made a habit of donating leftovers to local shelters, women’s programs and sober homes at the end of the day.
In its new Saugus location, which will have a grand opening in May, the bakery will add delivery service and a few new pastries. Trays of pizza will go into the 13 foot by 8.5 foot oven around 2 a.m. and bakers will get to work on the sweets in the early morning hours.
Cucchiello Sr. said he plans to cater to old East Boston friends by delivering to them when they’re having a craving for an old Eastie classic.
“We’re not going to become millionaires by doing this,” Cucchiello Jr. “We do it to keep the tradition going. We just want to make sure everybody’s happy and has a good loaf of bread for dinner.”
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.