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North End restaurateur Nick Varano remembers friend during annual breast cancer fund-raiser

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  April 3, 2013 12:38 PM

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Nick Verano Boston Bakes 2013.jpg
Sam Ogden
Restaurateur Nick Varano and the chocolate berry tart.

A North End restaurateur will salute a friend from the old neighborhood during this year’s annual Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer event.

As part of the annual “bake sale” for Boston-area restaurants, Nick Varano, owner of Nico Ristorante, Strega North End, and Strega Waterfront, will donate the proceeds of each chocolate berry tart sold at those restaurants to fighting breast cancer. The tart is the creation of pastry chef Salvatore Firicano.

Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer 2013 is dedicated to longtime East Boston resident Anna Roffo Guarino, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and died in 2009. Verano, an East Boston native and longtime supporter of the Boston Bakes event, knew Guarino for around 30 years.

“She was a sweetheart. She lived next door to my mother’s,” Varano said by phone on Wednesday. “I’m such a supporter of anything to do with any type of cancer. I was very close to my mother. … She died of lung cancer.”

Verano said he wants to do anything he can for the cause, in hopes that someday a cure can be found. He thinks breast cancer could be the first form of the disease to be cured, he said, and he wants to help.

“Anything we can do to help, it’s the least we can do,” Varano said. “We just want to do more and more.”

Each year since 2005, Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer has enlisted restaurants across the region to raise money for research and care for breast cancer patients during the week leading up to Mother’s Day by designating all sales of one dessert from their menus or 50 percent of proceeds from their entire dessert menu to the cause.

Proceeds from the event will support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Bakes for Breast Cancer Inc., a non-profit organization that organizes the annual event.

This year, more than 200 restaurants, cafés, bakeries, ice cream shops, chocolate shops, food trucks, and Whole Foods markets across Massachusetts are expected to participate in the event, which runs from May 6 to May 12.

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Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at
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