Panera Shutters in Harvard Square to Make Way for a New Tatte Bakery
UPDATE, October 3: Tatte’s newest location opens in Harvard Square tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., Scout Cambridge reports. It’s the growing local bakery chain’s largest location yet, spanning two floors with two coffee bars, and ample space for holing up to do homework.
About a month ago, an announcement from Panera Bread sent some ripples through the Boston food scene: The Missouri-based fast bakery chain took a majority stake in Boston’s own Tatte Bakery, a group of locally-owned, casual-chic cafés.
— Sean William (@BostonMo) February 10, 2016
I hope Tatte stays as it is. It doesn’t feel like a chain now and I hope it never does. https://t.co/3qISBgK3m1
— thewholejeanne (@thewholejeanne) February 10, 2016
Tatte founder and owner Tzurit Or told Boston her business would remain independently-owned, and the new partnership would allow her “to bring Tatte to as many people as possible,” in a smart way.
“It took me many years to find the right partner for Tatte,” she said in February. “I am extremely honored and excited by this partnership and by the welcome and support I’ve received from Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich and his entire leadership.”
This summer, that partnership will bring Tatte Bakery to a central location in Harvard Square: Panera Bread shuttered a two-story location on Mass. Ave. on Monday, the Harvad Crimson reported, and Panera confirmed today it’s to make way for Or’s café.
“Panera Bread has been proud to serve and feel the support of the Cambridge community,” reads a company statement. “After investing in the local bakery-café concept Tatte Bakery and Café, which operates independently, Panera has decided to close our Harvard Square location. We are thrilled to offer Tatte the opportunity to bring their unique brand and experience to this Harvard Square location later this summer.”
The two-story Panera Bread opened in 2012, directly across from Harvard’s Wigglesworth freshman dormitories. It had two, upstairs fireplaces, as well as sidewalk seating on ground level.
Or was unavailable this afternoon to confirm if Tatte would take over the same amount of real estate that Panera had in the building. On Instagram, she shared the new location will host Tatte’s signature baking and cooking classes, as well as “a look inside our bread production.”
The Crimson article—spotted this morning by Boston Restaurant Talk—cites students seriously distraught at the loss of their backyard Panera. (Elsewhere in Cambridge, there are Paneras in Porter Square [one Red Line stop away] and Alewife [three stops], plus outposts in Watertown, Brookline, Boston proper, Chestnut Hill, etc.)
“As it stands, my last Panera visit was three days ago, and I would have taken more time to appreciate the meal had I known it were my last,” senior Halle A. Orr tells the Crimson. “We can make it through this tragedy. Maybe.”
In an op-ed, Crimson staffer Betty Anne Richardson laments “a Harvard Square devoid of warm artisan pastries, broth bowls, hot chocolate, and easily accessible nutritional facts.”
Nutritional information displays aside, perhaps Or’s tart tatines, Belgian chocolate halva bombs, daily soups, and croissants might ease the pain.
Tatte Bakery, opening summer 2016 at 1288 Massachusetts Ave.; tattebakery.com.