The North End's unique businesses bring people from all over the world to this neighborhood. So North End Patch will be featuring one each week -- whether a restaurant, florist, smoke shop or salon. Let us know if there's a particular one you'd like to read about in this weekly series.
Katia DeStefano began helping out at her family's cafe as soon as she was able to walk.
When she was seven, she began working as a dishwasher at Cafe Paradiso on Hanover Street. Now, she and her sister, Tania, are the managers of the third-generation run cafe.
How long in the North End and why here?
In June, Cafe Paradiso celebrated its 50th anniversary. Katia's grandparents -- Antonio and Antonietta DeStefano -- came to the North End from Italy in the 1960s and started this business.
"It was a way for them to make a living but also part of their comfort zone to continue the Italian traditions," Katia said. "In that way, they were able to keep some of what they had in their former country alive in their new one."
When they retired, Katia's father, Oscar, and his sister, Adriane Federio, took over. And currently the third generation of the family is following the tradition.
What makes this business stand out from the rest?
In addition to being named the restaurant with the best cannoli by Boston Magazine this past summer, Katia pointed to the fact that Cafe Paradiso makes its gelato on site with all natural flavors and without any preservatives.
Moreover, she pointed out, the coffee is unique.
"We have our own blend made especially for us so you can't find it any other place in the world," Katia said. "People ask all the time where we get our coffee and mention it's the best they've ever had."
Any changes to help businesses in the area?
Katia would actually love if there were no changes.
"I would like to see all the Italian traditions remain authentic," she said. "I'd like things to stay the same for us and other businesses to keep the feel of what was brought here by the Italian immigrants.
Most interesting experience
Every day is fascinating at Cafe Paradiso, Katia believes, but the best times are all the World Cup and European Cup soccer matches.
"In particular, it was so exciting when Italy won against France in the 2006 World Cup," she said. "And even though we didn't win against Spain (in the European Cup this June), we had a huge turnout here and it was wonderful to see the pride fans had for Italy."