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Mike’s vs. Modern Pastry: An Epic Boston Rivalry

Since the beginning of time, there have always been epic rivalries: Troy vs. Sparta, Coke vs. Pepsi, Yankees vs. Red Sox (although we all know who the true champion in that rivalry is…). It is simply human nature to compete and, well, competition just makes everything more fun. Because Boston is such a competitive city, there are more rivalries in existence than you may realize. Obviously there is BC vs. BU, but let’s not forget about the rivalries living right under our noses: MA’s vs. City Side, Moogy’s vs. Eagle’s Deli, and the much debated Mike’s Pastries vs. Modern Pastry.

Upon discovering Mike’s Pastries as a freshman four years ago, I became a loyal and devoted patron. Once a semester, I just HAD to get my chocolate chip cannoli after a delicious dinner out in the North End. The thought of even trying another flavor of cannoli (or god forbid another Italian bakery) was just out of the question. Why mess with a good thing? That was my philosophy and it served me well throughout my BC career.

However, my friends and I decided to do a bit of an experiment this past weekend. Maybe spring fever got to us, but regardless, we went a little crazy and set our sights on performing the ultimate cannoli taste test. We purchased two standard, chocolate chip ricotta cannolis from Mike’s and two standard, chocolate chip ricotta cannolis from Modern Pastry. We also threw in a hazelnut cannoli from Mike’s just because the perfectly toasted nuts were calling to us from behind the glass.

In terms of the experience at each pastry shop, they were equally overwhelming and chaotic… as expected on a Saturday night in the North End. Modern Pastry is about ¼ the size of Mike’s, making the line always seem longer than it actually is. Once you get inside Modern, you will have to wait about five minutes max. One of the cool things about Modern is that they give you the option to customize your cannoli. You can pick your shell, filling and topping and they will put it all together for you right there on the spot.

The cannolis from both locations looked delicious, featuring the perfect ratio of ricotta filling to chocolate chips. But the question was, which cannoli would reign supreme, taking the top prize for taste, texture, and overall dessert experience? The three taste testers were given part of a Modern Pastry cannoli and part of a Mike’s cannoli. The Mike’s cannoli was placed on a white napkin whereas the Modern cannoli was placed on a pink napkin, but the taste testers were unaware of which was which. After carefully analyzing both cannolis, here is what the taste testers had to say before the big reveal:

“The chocolate chips are exactly the same – same size, taste, and everything.”

“The one on the white napkin has a creamier filling.”

“The one on the white napkin also has a lighter filling.”

“The one on the pink napkin has a more ricotta-y filling. Definitely tastes cheesier.”

“I really like the shell of the one on the pink napkin.”

“The one on the white napkin was definitely bigger.”

After revealing that the cannoli on the white napkin was from Mike’s and the cannoli on the pink napkin was from Modern, the taste testers summed up their overall thoughts. In the end, participants chose the cannoli from Mike’s as their favorite. However, they didn’t hate the cannoli from Modern. In fact, one participant said, “The perfect cannoli would be a combo of the two – the shell from Modern and the filling from Mike’s.”

 The Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cannoli from Mike’s


 The Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cannoli from Modern

So maybe a true rivalry can never have an ultimate winner. What’s your favorite North End treat? Would you choose Mike’s or Modern? Let us know in the comments!


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Kelsey Damassa is in her senior year at Boston College, majoring in Communications and English. She is a native of Connecticut and frequents New York City like it is her job. On campus, she is the Campus Correspondent for the Boston College branch of Her Campus. She also teaches group fitness classes at the campus gym (both Spinning and Pump It Up!) and is an avid runner. She has run five half-marathons as well as the Boston Marathon. In her free time, Kelsey loves to bake (cupcakes anyone?), watch Disney movies, exercise, read any kind of novel with a Starbucks latte in hand, and watch endless episodes of "Friends" or "30 Rock."
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