Papa Gino’s started as a by-the-slice pizzeria in East Boston

Jan 15, 2024 315

BY: Sharon Oliver

Michael Valerio emigrated from Italy at age five to East Boston during the 1930s. We may never know if he ever envisioned his tiny pizza-by-the-slice business morphing into an iconic franchise. Papa Gino’s is for many people raised in New England a place they have many memories of eating at when they were kids, or perhaps even working at one as a teenager.

In 1961, Valerio and his wife Helen worked long hours, refusing to go into debt and eventually began expanding their operation to multiple locations, mostly in downtown Boston. Valerio funded the first restaurant using his military service earnings that his mother saved for him while he served overseas during the Korean War. 

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