By John Lynds
On Tuesday, Mayor Martin Walsh joined with the Department of Neighborhood Development to honor Boston Main Streets volunteers and businesses during the 20th Annual Boston Main Streets Awards.
Eastie’s Veronica Robles of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center was named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ while Dough East Boston was named ‘Business of the Year’.
“It is an honor to receive this award representing East Boston in the business and cultural areas,” said Robles. “I like to take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to continue my efforts to help connect individuals, organizations, institutions and government representatives with the community. We need to work together to continue our efforts to keep our neighborhood safe and help decrease violence in the streets. I am focused on creating employment opportunities for youth and artists in our city.”
For years, Robles has run the Cultural Center at McClellan Hiåghway that is open to all families and individuals interested on learning, fostering and sharing culture, traditions and family values. Since opening the Cultural Center, Robles has been a mainstay at community events for East Boston Main Streets, the Chamber and other organizations performing folkloric dance, music, and theater. This year she will also spend time at the East Boston Farmer’s Market performing ‘Dancing Elotes’. Robles said this community project will include a bike-cart selling elotes–the traditional prepared corn served on the street in Mexico-as a literal and conceptual vehicle for cross-cultural culinary, dance and sculptural experiences at the Farmers Market.
Over at Dough East Boston, owners Kevin Curley and Michael Sanchez said they were beyond excited to receive the award. The popular sandwich and pizza shop on the corner of Maverick and Border Streets has been serving up delicious sandwich creations for the past decade.
However, beyond their food Curley and Sanchez have been giving back to the community since they opened by supporting Main Streets events, Zumix programs, NOAH, the Atlantic Works Artist Gallery.
“We are very happy to get this award from Boston Main Streets,” said Curley. “East Boston Main Streets has been part of the community for a long time and a lot of great places have won this award before us so its great to be recognized and elevated to that league.”
Both Curley and Sanchez opened Dough because they said they saw great potential in Eastie.
“It’s one of the greatest neighborhoods in Boston and for a small neighborhood we have such great food places that have become nationally known for food with places like Rino’s and Angela’s and Italian Express who have made it onto the Food Network. It’s awesome that this little community is getting all this recognition.”
In his remarks to awardees, Mayor Walsh referred to Boston’s small businesses as “economic engines for their district,” providing products and services to the people who live and work in the neighborhoods.
“Boston Main Streets has had tremendous success in helping to revitalize our community and highlight the role our small businesses play in our neighborhoods,” said Walsh. “I want to congratulate all of this year’s volunteers and businesses of the year, who represent some of the best and brightest leaders who have gone out of their way to help not only their organization thrive, but their entire commercial district and city thrive as well.”
Veronica Robles of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center during one of her many cultural performances around East Boston. Boston Main Streets named Robles ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at its awards ceremony Tuesday.