Harvest Restaurant Changes Ownership; Will Food Change Too?

Thompsons Take Over Brattle Street Institution

A new Harvest is coming to Harvard Square--sort of.

After 18 years, the Harvest Restaurant on Brattle Street, a Cambridge institution and favorite eating place of such Harvard luminaries as Trumbull Professor of American History Donald H. Fleming and Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, is changing hands.

Owners Benjamin C. Thompson and Jane M. Thompson, who founded the restaurant, announced they would sell the Harvest to past managers R. Patrick Bowe and Jayne Bowe, who currently own Rocco's in Faneuil Hall Marketplace and who first met at the Harvest. The sale should be complete in late August, according to Jane M. Thompson.

Patrick Bowe said that he and his wife, who will manage the Harvest themselves at first, do not intend to radically redo the restaurant. But he said that he does intend to make one major change--offering a single menu for the entire restaurant.

Currently, the restaurant is divided up into a cafe area and a dining room area, each offering their own menu, with food prices noticeably higher in the latter.


"People come to the restaurant and you spend [a lot of time] explaining it. It confuses and alienates people," Bowe said.

He also said he wants to tone down the food a bit.

"The menu in the dining room has become somewhat ornate," he said. "I'm looking for strong simplicity."

Chris Fallon, currently the head chef at Rocco's, will come to the Harvest with the Bowes to help implement the menu changes.

Bowe also said he is looking forward to being back in the Square.

"I ran the Harvest for five years--it's a place I truly love," he said. "To a large degree what I'm doing is preserving its roots: quality, simplicity, warmth."

Jane Thompson said she thought any changes made would help the restaurant flourish.

"Things are always changing in the restaurant business--you have to stay [active]", she said. "They're very implement some new things."

Thompson said she and her husband had wanted to sell the restaurant to people who understood its clientele.

"I suppose in a sense it's owning a piece of Harvard Square and where a lot of great things happen," she said. "It was created for the community and for what we thought was needed in the community social and food life."