Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com
Elected officials joined with staff of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center on Wednesday to celebrate the grand opening of the Market Café inside the new health center location in Maverick Square.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina, and State Representative Carlo P. Basile were among those present for the celebration, which packed the new café and an adjacent pharmacy area. Menino praised Jack Cradock, president of the health center, and his team of health care providers for their service to the community.
“When you think about health centers in the city of Boston, this is probably the premier health center,” Menino said. “It has more penetration to its citizens than any other health center in the city.”
The new café is operated by the Noviello family, owners of the Meridian Food Market. In his remarks Wednesday, Cradock spoke of his long relationship with the Meridian Market — his first office in East Boston was upstairs from the shop — its role in the community, and the transformation of Maverick Square from a blighted area to an active and welcoming business district.
“When the health center first opened, you had to escort the nurses down to the [MBTA] station,” Cradock said. “It was a very scary place, as all you guys know. And it’s a beautiful showpiece, and I think it’s really a commendation to you, Mr. Mayor, and the kind of leadership you’ve been able to provide for us.”
Freddie Noviello, a member of the family that will operate the new café, spoke of his family’s history in the neighborhood and love of the community.
“East Boston has been a part of our life for many years,” Noviello said. “Growing up here as a child, having a business in this city for more than a decade. East Boston has become our heart and our soul.”