How a South Shore bakery became a Kennedy family favoriteBy John Galluzzo | Photo courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Founded 70 years ago in the basement of a Quincy pizza shop, Montilio’s Baking Company has been called upon to create many magnificent cakes for notable VIPs, including John F. Kennedy. When asked how the bakery has maintained close ties with the Kennedy family, George Montilio, the latest in his family line to run the business, says “It’s all about relationships.”
Montilio’s Baking Company opened in 1947 and it was thanks to George Montilio’s dad Ernie’s political interest that the bakery was commissioned to make then-Senator John F. Kennedy’s wedding cake six years later. When JFK went to Washington in 1961, he asked Montilio’s to provide a cake for his inauguration, but there was a catch.
“We weren’t union at the time,” says Montilio. “We were allowed to make slices of cake, but not the official cake.” But the relationship between the Montilios and Kennedys was already established. Since that time, Montilio’s has become a bakery of choice for Kennedy events. For the dedication of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Montilio’s provided a cake that was designed to look exactly like the building and they made a cake for Ted Kennedy when he was running for president. On the 20th anniversary of the JFK’s death, the bakery made a huge American flag cake that measured eight feet by 12 feet, with a portrait of the president in the middle. Montilio’s Baking Company has delivered cakes to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport and even out to the Rose Kennedy Greenway. For Rose Kennedy’s 90th birthday, the bakers designed a cake covered in roses.
The baking tradition continues to this day as Montilio’s prepares to make a special cake for the celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of John F. Kennedy in May. If there’s one thing the family has learned over the years, it’s that to get the “keys to the compound,” you need high-quality customer service, old-world recipes and a healthy dose of flavorful frosting.