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More Than Just Desserts

Paul Conforti ’92 brings high-end dessert dining to Boston with sweet dreams of going nationwide.

Paul Conforti ’92 wants to teach the world the value of a luscious dessert. “I want to educate people on the difference between a junky $4 piece of cake and a premium, $10 plated dessert,” says Conforti, co-founder of Finale, a popular, upscale Boston eatery specializing in desserts.

So far, Conforti is getting his lesson across. Finale, which opened in 1998 in a location a block south of Boston Common, has not only survived in the notoriously tough restaurant business, but has thrived, adding branches in nearby Cambridge and Brookline, with plans for further expansion afoot. Finale has earned positive reviews from food critics, an armful of local awards for the best desserts in the Boston area, and even national press coverage for its variety of gourmet cakes, pastries, tarts, puddings, and sorbets, among other favorites, served in a casual but upscale atmosphere.

While Finale serves some light fare, it bills itself as a “desserterie” or, as Conforti sometimes calls it, a “dessert restaurant.” Finale tries to lure diners to skip the cheaper, generic goodies of other cafés and to try something like its signature $10.95 Molten Chocolate Cake, a muffin-shaped concoction with a warm, creamy interior that reviewers have called “achingly rich,” “intense,” and “to die for.” Or two people can dig into the two-person “Fantasia” plate, a combination of fruit tarts and tortes, chocolates, miniature cakes, crème caramel, pudding, and sorbet, for $16.95. Even Business Week has called Finale’s food “creative.”

by Peter Dizikes
Photos by Stephanie Mitchell

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