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&pizza Eyes Harvard Square Location

Crimson Corner, a family-owned newsstand and souvenir shop, may close after 54 years in Harvard Square.
Crimson Corner, a family-owned newsstand and souvenir shop, may close after 54 years in Harvard Square. By Andrew M. Duehren
By Alison W. Steinbach and Katherine E. Wang, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: January 11, 2017 at 2:17 a.m.

The Cambridge zoning board will consider a bid this week to replace Harvard Square’s family-run newsstand and gift shop Crimson Corner with Washington, D.C.-based eatery &pizza.

The pizza chain has applied to renovate and combine the Crimson Corner space and adjacent Tory Row, which closed in October. The Board of Zoning Appeal will discuss architectural plan at its next public meeting on Jan. 12.

If approved, &pizza, which specializes in individual made-to-order pizza pies, would join a myriad of pizza shops in the square, including Pinocchio's, Otto, The Just Crust, and Cambridge, 1.

Meanwhile, Crimson Corner, located at the intersection of Brattle St., JFK St., and Massachusetts Ave., would shutter at the end of the month after 54 years in the Square.

Crimson Corner owner Chris Kotelly said he has been looking for a new location in the Square after the store lost its lease earlier this month. He added that he hopes Cantabrigians’ resistance to chain restaurants will keep the newsstand at its current location.

“There was a lot of public outcry against our newsstand leaving and the pizza shop coming in, so I think that is kind of building momentum for us. Whether that keeps us here or not, I’m not sure,” Kotelly said.

The news comes at a time of heavy construction and rapid turnover in Harvard Square. Multiple businesses have closed in recent years, and the future of other local mainstays—including the Curious George store at the corner of Brattle St. and JFK St.—remains in limbo.

Denise A. Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association, says she is helping Kotelly find a location for Crimson Corner to relocate, but the search has so far been unsuccessful.

“We’re looking in the Harvard Square area for a retail spot,” Kotelly said. “We just haven’t found anything that’s feasible.”

Jillson added that she values having local businesses operate in the Square.

“The fact that Crimson Corner is a locally-owned independent is really important to us, but all businesses are important to us because they all bring something,” said Jillson.

Michael Lastoria, the founder and chief executive of &pizza, said he is excited at the possibility of &pizza coming to the Boston area.

“We love Boston and know &pizza will fit right in. As soon as we have more news to share, you can expect us to be shouting it from the rooftops,” Lastoria wrote in an emailed statement.

–Staff writer Alison W. Steinbach can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @alisteinbach.

—Staff writer Katherine E. Wang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @katiewang29.

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