“Crema” will start pouring great coffee and selling fantastic pastries at 9 Commercial Street by the end of this year, said Art Banister, one of the owners of the new business earlier this week. The coffee will be brewed in-house by John Walsh of Arabica and there will be a small bakery in-house as well.
The large red brick building, owned by Banister, formerly housed the retail stores, the Finest Hearth, until it went out of business last December 21st. Prior to that Banister had owned the stove business Finest Kind there for years until he sold it to the Finest Hearth owners.
Crema will also sell other Italian products such as gelato, Italian sodas, pastries, cups and saucers. Cathy and John Walsh, owners of Arabica, are partners with Banister in this business that is a welcome addition to the area. There will be seating for 40 – 50 people.
It seems especially appropriate that this Italian themed business should be located near the corner of Commerical Streets and India. At one time, this section of the Hill was known as the “Italian Quarter.” A significant number of Italians immigrated to this area looking for jobs on the railroad at the beginning of the 20th century. Looking for religious freedom, in 1911, St. Peter’s Parish was opened on Federal Street. It became the center of religious activity for the Italians in the area.