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UPDATED: March 2, 2016, at 11:19 a.m.
Speculation over Panera’s closure had barely begun before the rumors subsided and the mystery over the space's new tenant cleared: Tatte Bakery and Cafe announced it will move into Panera’s vacated storefront at 1288 Massachusetts Ave.
“For years, Panera Bread has been proud to serve and feel the support of the Cambridge community,” Panera Bread Spokesperson Amanda Cardosi wrote in an email. “After investing in the local bakery-cafe concept Tatte Bakery and Cafe, which operates independently, Panera has decided to close our Harvard Square location.”
Cardosi added customers should expect Tatte to open later this summer.
Tatte serves a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches—with some higher prices compared to Panera—and already boasts five other locations, all in the Boston-area. This will be Tatte’s fourth Cambridge location, after branches at 318 Third St., 101 Main St., and 205 Broadway.
Several students said they are still reeling over Panera’s closure, but are excited about Tatte’s impending arrival.
Claire P. Dinhut ’18, a fan of Tatte, said she looks forward to not having to take the MBTA in order to dine at the eatery.
“In my opinion, their shakshuka is the best dish in Boston and I can’t wait to have it available at my fingertips,” Dinhut said, referring to the Israeli skillet made of poached eggs and tomatoes that Tatte serves as one of its signature dishes.
Other students, like Osaremen F. Okolo ’17, feel that a restaurant like Tatte’s is a much-needed change from the chain fast food options she said are seemingly taking over Harvard Square.
“The Square is sorely lacking in quality, no-chain, coffee options in comparison to comparable metropolitan areas,” said Okolo. “I’ll be more likely to want to sit and grab a bite in Tatte than I was in Panera.”
Okolo also characterized Tatte as having a “very true cafe vibe” in comparison to Panera.
Other students said they are excited that Tatte offers a brunch option in the heart of the Square. At Tatte’s Broadway location, the brunch menu offers dishes like a breakfast sandwich for $8.50 and an Avocado Tartine for $9.50.
“I think that Tatte is really going to revolutionize the brunch scene in the Square” Natalie C. Kim ’18 said.
Still, some students said they are disappointed about the sudden loss of Panera, but excited about a new option nonetheless.
“It's going to be hard to imagine a Harvard Square without Panera—I will miss their generous WiFi and delicious sandwiches,” Lucy Xu ’18 said. “That being said, I've been to Tatte bakery in Kendall Square before and it's absolutely lovely so I'll be looking forward to seeing them come to the Square and treating myself to some very fine cheesecake!”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: March 2, 2016
An earlier version of this article misattributed a quotation from Lucy Xu '18.
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