The City Hall Pharmacy and later the City Hall Variety was more than a pharmacy, more than a coffee shop.
And that’s because Peter Palladino, a true gentleman and highly respected Revere resident and businessman, worked there as the owner and operator of City Hall Pharmacy for more than 35 years and the owner of City Hall Variety from 1995 until 2012. Mr. Palladino worked with his wife, Judy Palladino, by his side. Together they were a great team who knew what it took to make a business successful and a place where everyone felt welcomed.
Mr. Palladino, a 1964 graduate of the Revere High School and a 1969 graduate of the prestigious Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, died on Sept. 19 after a lengthy illness. He was 72.
Community leaders and city officials past and present spoke fondly about Mr. Palladino and his popular coffee shop, located just across the street from City Hall, which became the hub for daily discussions about politics, sports, and the news of the day.
Still others remembered the many residents waiting for his store to open so they could purchase a copy of The Revere Journal. Mr. Palladino always offered his customers a friendly greeting with their morning brew.
Dick Powers, the legendary news editor of the Revere Journal for many years, spoke with reverence about Mr. Palladino, the dependable and professional pharmacist, and also the proud owner of a popular Revere coffee shop in more recent times.
“I would call him up on the way home from Children’s Hospital at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning and he would always meet me at the drug store to get whatever prescription my children needed,” recalled Powers. “He was just that kind of person, a wonderful person and a funny friend. Peter had a wonderful ability to make people laugh.”
Powers said he was a daily visitor to the Palladino family’s store and his two sons, Richard Powers and Ryan Powers, “worked for Peter and Judy.”
Judy Palladino, who shared 30 years of marriage with Peter Palladino, said her husband loved Revere and enjoyed the daily interaction with customers.
“He was a good guy,” said Mrs. Palladino. “He enjoyed everyone and loved Revere. He never had a bad word to say about anyone, ever. I worked with him at City Hall Variety every day. I saw the love and admiration he received from people. It made me feel good.”
City Hall Pharmacy and City Hall Variety were gathering places for numerous Revere political figures.
“His store was part of the fabric of the city of Revere,” said Ward 4 Councillor John Powers. “You would find people standing outside the pharmacy looking to buy the Revere Journal so they could see what was going on in the city. The crowd outside Palladino’s was always large and it was a tremendous era for the city. The whole family was great and Peter’s passing is a sad thing for the entire city.”
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo said Mr. Palladino was “a staple on that corner ” of Broadway adjacent to City Hall for many decades.
“Back in its day when it was City Hall Pharmacy, it was the place to go to get your Revere Journal – everybody would line up to get their Journals, waiting for the store to open. The store just has so much history and I know so many people from Revere have fond memories about the pharmacy and City Hall Variety, where people could go and have their coffee and muffins and start their day with friends and associates. Peter was a tremendous guy and he will be sorely missed.”
“I used to go in the coffee shop all the time,” said Police Chief James Guido. “He and his wife, Judy, were wonderful people and Peter will be sorely missed – he’s one of Revere’s icons. He loved politics and he loved Revere and he had his hand in everything, just a wonderful, wonderful person.”
Revere Director of Finance George Anzuoni said he often visited the store.
“I worked right across the street from him for years and I used to go over there and have coffee and have conversations with Peter,” said Anzuoni. “He really was a nice man who cared about the city of Revere. We had a lot of political discussions and I enjoyed them. We both thought John McCain should reach across the aisle and have Hillary Clinton as his running mate. That was our idea for the country but we knew it would never happen. That was the place to go get your Journal. He was just a great guy.”
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said that Mr. Palladino graduated four years ahead of him at Revere High School.
“His brother, Al, graduated with me in 1960,” said Guinasso. “To me, the Palladino family is symbolic of what Revere politics is all about. That shop was the center of all politics. Peter Palladino was a wonderful guy and he will be remembered by all of us for a long time to come.”
State Rep. RoseLee Vincent was Mr. Palladino’s classmate in the RHS Class of 1964.
“Everyone knew the Palladinos and their store on that corner,” said Vincent. “It was a great family and Peter was a wonderful person. He was fun to be around when we were in school together. He will be missed by his many, many friends in Revere.”
Carol Tye, former RHS teacher, member of the Revere School Committee and former superintendent of Revere schools, said she was “so sad to read about Mr. Palladino’s passing.”
“He was an Immaculate Conception student and he came to the high school and I was lucky enough to have him in my class as a student,” said Tye. “Even then, he was the gentleman that he became later on. As a high school student, he was mature, polite, smart, and funny. We had a saying on report cards, ‘a pleasure to teach,’ and that was Peter Palladino. He was always a pleasure to speak to at the pharmacy. I always enjoyed going there. He had a lovely mother. She brought up wonderful boys. His brother, Albert, was a wonderful teacher in the school system. I’m truly saddened by Peter’s passing.”
There are pharmacies and coffee shops in the city but City Hall Pharmacy and City Hall Variety will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of the regulars who admired Mr. Peter Palladino and felt comfortable being in his company and sharing a story or a laugh with the man who held court at the corner for decades.