A Swan Song For the City's Greasy Spoon

*Tasty, 81-year-old night hawk, closes on Sunday

It would not seem possible for oozing grease, globs of ketchup and mustard, and flattened pre-made beef patties to come together and taste so magical.

But for almost a century, a few unlikely chefs have cooked up that kind of magic in a tiny place called the Tasty.

When the sun rises fully this Sunday, however, the dirty grills where those famous cheeseburgers were born each night will sizzle no more.

The closing of the Tasty on Nov. 2 will leave Harvard Square without a single eatery that offers sandwiches, french fries and piping hot coffee at four in the morning for a few dollars.

No longer will students be able to saddle up to the counter and drown out their midterm sorrows with a cold vanilla milkshake.


No longer will patrons be able to buy 25-cent stamps from an Uncle Sam vending machine.

More significantly, the end of the Tasty marks the end of an institution which has epitomized life in Harvard Square for the past 81 years.

Cambridge Savings Bank, owner of the building that houses the Tasty, is forcing out tenants--including the Tasty--to allow for major renovations, which will begin the day after the Tasty shuts its doors.

The historic Read Block, located smack in the heart of Harvard Square, will be undergoing major structural changes for the next two years.

The Tasty is Harvard Square's oldest restaurant, with its original floor tiles laid out in 1916 and its serving counter dating from the 1950s.

Tasty-lovers are not going out without a fight. There have been community meetings to halt renovation plans and creative efforts to find a new location.

But Stephanie Avis Haddad--whose father sold the Tasty to her and her husband seven years ago--said last night in a phone interview that the chances of relocating the Tasty in the Square are extremely slim.

"We're trying right now, but it doesn't look like it'll work out," Haddad says.

That means, barring a minor miracle for this couple, the clock runs out for good at 6 a.m. on Nov. 2.

The Regulars

Alexandria V. Long, known among Tasty regulars as "Cricket," has been ordering hot dogs and french fries at the shoebox corner eatery for six years, and she's only a sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

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