Joe Murphy says he tried, he really did. He'd show up at the bakery he'd just bought on Washington Street every day at 2 a.m. despite the vertigo from an accident that so bad doctors had put him in a coma for nine weeks. When the economy went south and people stopped buying non-necessities like hand-made cakes, he made plans to add a cafe. When red tape at the city Inspectional Services Department delayed that for months, he still persevered.
But Murphy says, he finally just burned out - the 10- and 12-hour days seven days a week just weren't cutting it. Two days ago, he closed A. Boschetto, the Roslindale Square landmark that had been open since 1952.
The store's refrigerators are still filled with cakes, one display case is still loaded with pastries; bags of baked goods line a table. Murphy says he'll try to sell those off, along with all the baking equipment in the 4,000-square foot bakery, but then he's done.
Murphy, who grew up in West Roxbury, says he was working as a food broker when he came down with a virus in 2001 that left him, in his mid-50s, legally blind. Undeterred, he decided to go to culinary school to learn to be a chef - he'd always wanted to own a restaurant. But two of the chefs he worked with at the BU culinary program and at a program in New York convinced him not to go into the kitchen because he would be too hard on his health. Instead, he went into baking. When done, about 5 1/2 years ago, he bought A. Boschetto.
And then, while riding his motorcycle near the West Roxbury VA Hospital, was crushed in a bad accident. His doctors at Brigham and Women's put him in a special, secured room and induced a coma for nine weeks to let his body heal. The accident left him with vertigo, but he says he'd still make the trip to the bakery - even though that usually meant sitting in a corner, in an upper-body cast, as he supervised the baking.
Murphy said things seemed to be going OK until about a year ago, when business just dropped off. People were no longer willing to buy "artisanal" products, like his cakes and pastries. He said that despite all the delays from Inspectional Services, the cafe was beginning to take off - but just not fast enough to save the bakery.
Murphy doesn't know what he'll do next, but adds he's convinced that "when one door closes, another one opens."
Wicked Local Roslindale has more.