Lovers of cannoli will soon have one less spot in Boston to get their fix.
Maria’s Pastry Shop in the North End will close at the end of September, according to owner Maria Merola, who says that at 66, it is time for her to retire.
“I am sad that I’m closing, but unfortunately, after working for 50 years, doing this business seven days a week, my body wants to relax,” Merola said.
Merola immigrated to Boston’s North End when she was a teenager in 1968, and started working at the pastry shop in 1970. She bought the business in 1982, but does not own the building — something that ultimately led to the shop closing instead of being sold.
“I have no idea what my landlord will do with the space over here,” she said. “Unfortunately, my landlord would not give me a lease, and no one would buy it without a lease.”
Merola also blamed the location, pointing out that several businesses on the block have shut down in recent years — and stayed vacant.
“It’s just the real estate,” she said.
The bakery, located in a highly visible spot facing the Rose Kennedy Greenway across the street from the Haymarket MBTA station, has gathered accolades for its goods: It has 550 reviews on Yelp, earning an average of 4.5 stars out of 5. It has also earned the “Best Cannoli” award from Boston Magazine.
“Locals applaud its extensive selections of cookies and biscotti designed for dunking — plus the freshly filled cannoli with perfectly sweet ricotta,” Globe food writer Kara Baskin wrote in 2017.
Merola says the shop’s last day will likely be Sunday, Sept. 29. She doesn’t plan to hold a farewell party, but notes that her customers and friends have given her cards, balloons, and wine to congratulate her on retirement.
“Some of them are upset. But most of them are happy,” she said. “I’m 66. I’ve been working for 50 years, I think that’s enough.”
After she retires, Merola says she has big plans: “Vacation is the first thing. I’ll spend more time with my daughters, and my friends, who all retired before me.”
Still, Merola doesn’t plan on permanently leaving the Boston neighborhood she has called home for more than five decades.
“I’ve been living on Fleet Street since I came to this country in 1968,” she said. “I plan to stay in the North End.”