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Dig Inn to Sprout in Harvard Square

82 Mount Auburn Street
Dig Inn is scheduled to open this fall at 82 Mount Auburn Street.

Healthy fast food restaurant chain Dig Inn will sprout its newest location in Harvard Square this fall.

The chain will open its doors at 82 Mount Auburn St., the space formerly occupied by men’s clothing boutique J. Press. An 86-year-old Harvard Square fixture, J. Press closed in August, citing increasing rents in the past several years. Dig Inn’s opening takes place as several restaurants frequented by college students — including Chipotle, Sweet Bakery, and Crema Café — have closed their doors in recent months.

Founded in 2011 in New York City, Dig Inn serves food purchased from small-scale and "minority"-run farms to curate its menu, which changes six times a year, according to its website. The Harvard Square location will be its fifth in the greater Boston area.

Dig Inn Founder and Chief Executive Officer Adam Eskin wrote in an emailed statement Thursday that Harvard Square is an ideal location for the chain since it is a “vibrant college town” and “rich” part of Cambridge’s history and culture.

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“We’re particularly excited about the building itself,” Eskin wrote. “It’s a beautiful, historic brick building steeped in history — having housed an institution like J Press for nearly a decade — which makes for big shoes to fill.”

Eskin said the Harvard Square location will be designed to “honor” the historic significance of the building.

Head of the Harvard Square Business Commission Denise A. Jillson said in an interview last week that Dig Inn will enliven what has been “a sleepy little corner” since J. Press closed last year.

With its vegetable-packed menu, Eskin said Dig Inn seeks to fill an “unmet need” in Harvard Square for students and local residents. He said he was encouraged by meetings with locals and students in planning for Dig Inn’s opening.

“We’ve heard over and over again that it’s hard to find a meal that’s healthful, delicious, convenient, and cooked in a way that reminds you of home, which is exactly what we do at Dig,” he said.

Jillson said she is confident Dig Inn will be successful, given that nearby salad chain Sweetgreen has a “robust business” at its 39 John F. Kennedy St. location. Jillson said the two restaurants share an emphasis on “fresh ingredients” and vegetarian options.

Eskin said Dig Inn is not “just a salad chain” and it is tailored to a clientele beyond vegans or vegetarians, though its food centers around in-season vegetables. Current offerings on Dig Inn’s spring menu include a host of “Marketbowls” with meat, fish, and vegetable varieties.

“I think it’s different enough,” Jillson said. “It will create an interesting buzz.”

—Staff Writer Juliet E. Isselbacher can be reached at juliet.isselbacher@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @julietissel.

—Staff Writer Amanda Y. Su can be reached at amanda.su@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandaysu.

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