This evening, as we stood in front of Panera mourning its sudden closing, we overheard an elderly woman put the news best: “Everything is going to hell.”
Truer words have never been spoken, especially after having just finished mourning the losses of local favorites like B.Good, Al’s, and Yenching. Continuing with what seems to be the year of tragic and unexpected restaurant closings, Panera will be the next Harvard Square Staple that is added to the seemingly ever growing list. According to an 8x11 piece of computer paper taped to Panera’s front door, Harvard Square’s Panera Bread Cafe has permanently closed as of today, February 29, 2016. The most sensitive of ways to inform its loyal customers of the this terrible tragedy to top off everyone’s leap day.
The sign reads: “This Panera cafe is permanently closed as of Monday, 2/29. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused you.” Panera, you have no idea– inconvenience is quite the understatement. Gone are the days of delectable grilled cheese sandwiches and cinnamon crunch bagels to cure even the worst of hangovers. A Harvard Square devoid of warm artisan pastries, broth bowls, hot chocolate, and easily accessible nutritional facts might as well declare itself in a Square of Emergency. RIP Panera, your loss will be sorely missed. Everything truly is going to hell.