Italian-Style Cafe Makes Debut in Holyoke Center

Establishment Grows Its Own Vegetables

Promising healthier food and lower prices to gourmet-oriented customers, the Italian style restaurant Caffe Marino opened at 30 Dunster St. last weekend.

Caffe Marino's novel approach and reputation as a satellite of the renowned Restaurant Marino in North Cambridge will ensure its success, claims General Manager Ron Palermo.

The cafe, located at the south end of the revamped Holyoke Center, offers a wide variety of competitively priced foods including salads, pastas, sandwiches, pizza, chicken, calzones, pastries and even breakfast.

Portions are medium-sized. For example, a plate of lasagna costs $4.50, and a 10-inch pizza goes for anywhere between $6.95 and $11.50, depending on the toppings.

Comparing his cafe to Restaurant Marino, Palermo claims that "[we] serve practically the same dishes but at lower prices."


Palermo cited an Italian steak the cafe offered yesterday for $6.95, more than $10 less than Restaurant Marino's price.

Palermo says the cafe will produce its own ingredients.

"We cultivate and raise our own fruit, vegetables, poultry, and livestock free of harmful chemicals and hormones," says the menu.

The cafe encourages customers to fax in orders so their food can be picked up without delay. Palermo expects half the business to be conducted via fax, but most customers have ordered in person so far.

"People like the atmosphere and want to eat here," Palermo said.

The cafe also features sliding glass doors,which will open onto a terrace with tables whenweather permits.

"It's such a clever concept," said retiredteacher and grandmother Florence Cooks as she ateat the cafe yesterday. "I wish I had thought ofit."

Even Jay Sattler, a local worker who describedhimself as "cynical about the success of newrestaurants in the area," says that "the entirearcade is an excellent idea--especially Marino."

It remains to be seen whether Caffe Marino cansurvive the intense competition among the HarvardSquare restaurants.

"Sure I like it, but there's so muchcompetition here," says customer Sara Gray. "Itmay not be able to with stand the test of time."Crimson File Photo

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