Toscano To Open Second Location in Harvard Square

Toscano, a neighborhood Italian restaurant in Beacon Hill, will open a second location in Harvard Square this fall, replacing Café of India at 52 Brattle Street.

The restaurant serves northern Italian cuisine, including traditional, homemade pastas, pizzas, seafood, and a newer vegetarian menu.

According to Richard J. Cacciagrani, managing partner at Toscano, the restaurant differentiates itself by always using fresh ingredients to prepare “classic” dishes.

Toscano’s chefs hope to build on a core menu from their Beacon Hill branch. Yet the new location may focus on pizza and pastas in the future to cater to a different clientele in Harvard Square, Cacciagrani said.

Simple dishes range from about 16 to 18 dollars.

Cacciagrani hopes the state will finalize the transfer of Café of India’s liquor license to Toscano by the end of April. Construction wil begin in May, and the restaurant is tentatively slated to open in November.

After a complete renovation of the interior, the restaurant will feature chandeliers, old walnut floors, reclaimed wood doors, and hand painted glass to replicate the warm, rustic atmosphere of old Tuscany.

In addition to restaurant seating, Tuscano will house a casual bar and café area. The restaurant can host a total of 119 customers.

Toscano’s Beacon Hill location caters primarily to neighborhood residents and professionals, but it also attracts customers from the nearby Emerson College. At Harvard Square, the restaurant also hopes to draw students and their parents with its unique offerings.

Although Cambridge has numerous restaurants that serve Italian food, Harvard Square currently does not have a comparable, upscale Italian restaurant, said Cacciagrani.

With its close-knit, business community, Harvard could be a “good anchor for our business,” he said.

Denise A. Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said she was glad to welcome Toscano to the Square and described their simple cuisine as “delicious.”

The original restaurant was founded in 1984 in Beacon Hill. The current owner, David F. D’Alessandro, a former CEO of John Hancock Financial Services, breathed new life into the space when he bought Toscano five years ago.

The owner of Café of India could not be reached for comment.

—Staff writer Laura K. Reston can be reached at laurareston@college.harvard.edu.

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