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Square Institution Bankrupt

Creditors Shut Down 79-Year-Old Wursthaus Restaurant

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The Wursthaus, a German restaurant in Harvard Square that has operated continuously since 1917, was shut down Wednesday night by creditors.

The restaurant, which used to attract such luminaries as former Harvard president Derek C. Bok and, years ago, John F. Kennedy '40, had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in early 1993.

Frank R. Cardullo, the owner's son, told The Boston Globe that the restaurant's sales fell from over $3 million a year in the early-to-mid-1980s to under $1 million last year.

The restaurant has been owned by Frank N. Cardullo since 1943. But the owner has lately been distant from the business end due to illness and age, according to the Globe.

Frank R. Cardullo told the Globe that the main reasons for the restaurant's demise were debt and the changing tastes of consumers.

In 1993 Frank N. Cardullo told The Crimson that the extension of the Red Line and construction work on the outside of the building were decreasing the customer base.

"Obviously, as you know, it came down to money," the younger Cardullo said in a phone interview last night.

He said part of the problem was the failure of the Cape Cod Wursthaus in Hyannis, which closed about two-and-a-half years ago after 12 years of operation.

The senior Cardullo had lost $1 million in the Cape Cod restaurant.

Frank R. Cardullo, who owns the gourmet food store in the Square which bears his name, said the Wursthaus would not reopen in the immediate future.

"It is time to move on," Cardullo said. "There will not be any more ventures."

According to the Globe article, Cardullo said that the restaurant could not provide its 35 employees with severance benefits.

Cardullo said that when the restaurant closed it would affect the community.

"They're losing a great restaurant," Cardullo said. "They're losing a good man, too, in my father."

Asked if the closing down of the Wursthaus had anything to do with the Cambridge Savings Bank's plans to demolish the building it was in (please see story, page one), Cardullo said "yes and no."

"It was just, it was time," he said, "and only time will tell as to what happens with the property."

Cardullo said he tried to convince Cambridge Savings Bank to allow him to take over operations, but said that the bank did not respond to his attempts to communicate.

"As far as the restaurant closing," Cardullo said, "it's the end of an era.

The senior Cardullo had lost $1 million in the Cape Cod restaurant.

Frank R. Cardullo, who owns the gourmet food store in the Square which bears his name, said the Wursthaus would not reopen in the immediate future.

"It is time to move on," Cardullo said. "There will not be any more ventures."

According to the Globe article, Cardullo said that the restaurant could not provide its 35 employees with severance benefits.

Cardullo said that when the restaurant closed it would affect the community.

"They're losing a great restaurant," Cardullo said. "They're losing a good man, too, in my father."

Asked if the closing down of the Wursthaus had anything to do with the Cambridge Savings Bank's plans to demolish the building it was in (please see story, page one), Cardullo said "yes and no."

"It was just, it was time," he said, "and only time will tell as to what happens with the property."

Cardullo said he tried to convince Cambridge Savings Bank to allow him to take over operations, but said that the bank did not respond to his attempts to communicate.

"As far as the restaurant closing," Cardullo said, "it's the end of an era.

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