After nearly a half a century of serving the Harvard community, One Potato, Two Potato will close in early June, its owners said yesterday.
Brothers Charles and John Chaprales, who co-own the restaurant, said they were forced to close by skyrocketing rent costs and differences with the landlord.
"Business in Harvard Square is generally not very good," said John Chaprales. "The winter [snow] was a very, very bad time."
The owners both said they did not believe that the opening of Loker Commons had any effect on their business.
The owners said their restaurant is regularly frequented by Harvard graduate students and faculty members and is a favorite of Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III.
Epps said yesterday that the closing of One Potato, Two Potato will be "a great loss."
"It has been my local pub" since his arrival at Harvard in 1958, Epps said.
Epps said he will miss Friday's macaroni and cheese special, the good hamburgers and his traditional Commencement Day beer. Epps said he drinks alcohol only once a year, and only at One Potato, Two Potato.
"I don't know what I will do this year," he lamented yesterday. The restaurant will close prior to Harvard's June 6 Commencement.
Epps described the owners of the restaurant as "very good citizens and hard workers."
"[They] have helped many Harvard students with jobs and have shown concern for creating a University town," Epps said.
One Potato, Two Potato has also been visited by members of the Kennedy family, Henry A. Kissinger '50, Adlai Stevenson, the Rockefellers and the Prime Minister of Egypt, according to the owners.
"Everyone comes here," Charles Chaprales said.
In 1950, the Chaprales rented the space for the restaurant, located on Mass. Ave. between Plympton and Linden Streets, for $250 per month.
The restaurant, originally named the University Luncheonette, then The Toga, and finally One Potato, Two Potato, has remained a fixture at that location for nearly 50 years.
This year, the rent skyrocketed to its current level of $10,000 per month, prompting the closing, the owners said.
Charles Chaprales also cited "differences" with the landlord as a reason for closing.
Charles Chaprales said he and his brother are not the young men they once were.
"It is time to quit," he said, exchanging a smile with his brother.
John Chaprales said he will remember his years in Harvard Square fondly, having met his wife and other close friends through the restaurant.
Although Charles and John Chaprales are leaving Harvard Square, they are not leaving the restaurant business.
On June 10, they will open Dino's Sea Grille on the corner of Arsenal and Coolidge Streets in Watertown.
Charles Chaprales, who has fished all over the world, said he hopes to catch 70 percent of the fish for the new restaurant
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