Square's Au Bon Pain To Unveil Renovations

Harvard Square's French bakery-cafe Au Bon Pain will have expanded indoor seating in a greenhouse-type setting by the end of next week, company officials said this week.

The existing barricades in front of the Mass. Ave. eatery are part of a $180,000 expansion project which will close the cafe for four or five days next week.

The renovations--which have been in the planning for a year--will provide an open-air area in the summer and glassed-in seating in the winter, said Louis I. Kane '53, chairman of Au Bon Pain.

Indoor chess tables like those currently outside the cafe will also be part of the addition to the three-year-old restaurant.

"We want to create a comfortable warm atmosphere so people can have a cafe atmosphere in winter, too," Kane said.

Current renovations follow those of eight months ago, when the cafe's interior was completely remodeled. New walls, tables, and a different counter arrangement were added, an investment which served to bring service for the growing number of customers up to company standards, managers said.

Au Bon Pain may be enjoying a boost in business since the departure this summer of the Square's Mug and Muffin. Kane said the cafe has enjoyed slightly better business since Mug and Muffin's closing.

"Sales are up a lot but have been going up constantly anyway," Kane said.

Au Bon Pain customers said the barriers were ugly, but the renovations would be worth the wait.

"One good thing about Au Bon Pain is that it's a place where you can come and get a cup of coffee and just sit for a while," said Au Bon Pain patron Jon Gibbons '84, a Law School student.

The new storefront was designed by the Sert-Jackson architectural firm, which also designed Holyoke Center. The new addition, Kane said, should "fit in with Holyoke Center and keep the integrity of the building while adding something new."