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Algiers Coffee House Reopens in the Square

Algiers, after a brief hiatus and under new management, reopens its doors to welcome back patrons.
Algiers, after a brief hiatus and under new management, reopens its doors to welcome back patrons. By Gladys M Kisela
By Junina Furigay, Crimson Staff Writer

After a brief closure, Algiers Coffee House opened its doors again to patrons hoping to sip on the cafe’s popular mint tea.

Algiers had been a fixture in the Square for 45 years until the cafe abruptly announced its closing last month on the eatery’s Facebook page.

The cafe will remain in its location on 40 Brattle St. in the building shared by the Brattle Theatre and restaurant Alden & Harlow. The restaurant will continue to serve Middle Eastern cuisine in addition to their drink selection, which includes the coffee house’s signature mint tea and Arabic coffee.

According to a press release from the Harvard Square Business Association on Monday, Algiers’ previous owner Emil Durzi has been suffering from a longtime illness and decided to close the cafe. Sami Herbawi, the owner of the middle eastern Andala Coffee House in Central Square, purchased Algiers from Durzi and decided to reopen the cafe with an expanded menu that also features the menu items served under Durzi’s ownership.

“We know that the new owners are just as passionate about a good coffee house as Emil was,” Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association Denise A. Jillson said. “We are hopeful that the tradition of very good Arabic coffee and wonderful Middle Eastern food will remain in that iconic little space.”

Jillson praised Durzi for his dedication to Algiers over the years.

“Emil worked very hard and lots of people in the Square knew that he was ill, but he kept pushing through it,” Jillson said. “I think the family spent a couple of weeks thinking about whether or not a family member could keep it going and ultimately they decided that it was best to turn the management over to another very well known coffee shop owner here in Cambridge.”

Students like Alec S. Bowman ’17 were relieved to hear of Algiers reopening.

“Their Arabian coffee is some of the only coffee in the Square that’s actually strong coffee, and their outdoor balcony is an awesome place to people watch while working,” Bowman said. “I am glad that they have survived.”

Minnie Jang ’18 was “devastated” when she heard of Algiers closing last month.

“I associated it with lots of special memories,” Jang said. “But it's awesome that they've already re-opened and hope the new owners maintain the same cozy ambience from before.”

—Staff writer Junina Furigay can be reached at Follow her on twitter @junina_furigay.

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