The Toga Restaurant, for 25 years a haven for Harvard students at 1274 Mass Ave, is selling out to a French restaurant, one of its owner-operators said yesterday.
"Running the Toga just demands too much personal attention," John G. Chaprales explained yesterday. La Crepe, a Boston-based French restaurant, has bought the Toga and will begin remodelling during the second week of March.
Chaprales and his brother Charles bought the restaurant in 1949, naming it The University Restaurant.
"Back then it was a small place with only 30 seats. Students called it 'The Unrest' because it was always busy and very active. And since there was a window all across the front, you could see the cars and people on Mass Ave.," Chaprales said. In 1968, Chaprales, of Greek descent, renamed the watering-spot The Toga Restaurant.
Patrons of the Toga were both alarmed and dismayed at the restaurant's exit.
"It's a nice place to drink; it's right across from the library," said one Harvard senior, who praised the Toga's banana daiquiri.
"It's low-priced, decent, and the atmosphere is good," said one patron, who cats there two to three nights every week.
In the back room of the dimly-lit, carpeted lounge, Chaprales recalled his most frightening moment at the restaurant.
"A bus crashed through the front window in 1954, in February, I think. There had been a fire at the Freshman Union, and the bus slid on the ice from the hoses--no one was hurt," he said.
Chaprales predicted that a French bill of fare will succeed financially in Harvard Square. "I'm sad to be leaving. We've always kept a good, clean, respectable place and never had any trouble," Chaprales said. "I've grown friendly with a lot of people in this place."
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