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The Longfellow Bar Opens on Brattle Street Amid a Sea of Closings

Alden & Harlow
The interior of Alden & Harlow, Michael Scelfo's contemporary American eatery on Brattle Street. Scelfo opened a new restaurant, dubbed The Longfellow Bar, in the space above Alden & Harlow Saturday.

Harvard Square diners disappointed by the recent slew of restaurant closings finally have a new place to dig in — the Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow opened its doors on Brattle Street Saturday.

The restaurant, located in the former Algiers Cafe space in Brattle Hall at 40 Brattle St., is restaurateur Michael Scelfo’s most recent pursuit in Harvard Square. The new bar and eatery sits atop his five-year-old flagship restaurant Alden & Harlow. Scelfo also owns Waypoint, located on Massachusetts Avenue.

Scelfo said his new restaurant will continue his classic style of serving “passing and sharing” dishes, a concept he first introduced at Alden & Harlow.

“Passing and sharing plates is very comfortable to people when you think about how you eat at home or dining with guests,” Scelfo said. “Alden & Harlow has been open for five years now, and we’ve always hung our hats on shareable, small plates.”

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Scelfo said he hopes to enhance that comfortable environment at his new restaurant.

“[The Longfellow Bar] is taking that idea and evolving it even further to encourage people to eat with their hands and enjoy cocktails and be super casual,” he said.

He said he also sees the restaurant as a space for friends to congregate and hopes it carries on Brattle Hall’s traditional purpose as a meeting place when it was built more than a century ago.

Scelfo said he also wants to embrace and reflect Cambridge's cultural diversity with his food offerings. The menu will include Ethiopian and Middle Eastern-style dishes, along with American food with “an Asian flare to it,” according to Scelfo.

“We’ve picked all cultures’ finger food and items that are traditionally eaten with your hands to feature on the menu,” he said.

Ultimately, Scelfo said he thinks the Longfellow Bar will be a “representation of what Harvard Square is and always has been, which is a celebration of culture.”

— Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at ellen.burstein@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.

— Staff writer Sydnie M. Cobb can be reached at sydnie.cobb@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @cobbsydnie.

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