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Just over three years after setting up shop at one of the most prominent storefronts in Harvard Square, Milk Bar is officially shuttering its doors this Sunday.
Serving cakes, shakes, cookies, and ice cream, Milk Bar — the brainchild of award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi — debuted its desserts in 2008 at its first shop in New York’s East Village. Since then, it has expanded to major cities across the United States and Canada.
Joe’s Pizza is expected to open in the vacated space in about half a year, according to a statement from the New York-based pizza chain.
Following years of delays, Milk Bar’s Harvard Square location at 1-3 Brattle Street opened shop in February 2019, with swarms of eager customers gathered outside to snag a $1 soft serve opening special. Milk Bar opened as a combination store, sharing a dining space with &pizza — a Washington-based customizable pizza chain.
&pizza closed its Cambridge location last spring, leaving its half of the space empty save for some black and white wallpaper.
Earlier this month, a poster was plastered on Milk Bar’s door, stating that Feb. 19 would be the shop’s last day of operation. The Harvard Square outpost is Milk Bar’s sole shop in the Boston area.
A spokesperson for Milk Bar wrote in an email that the departure of &pizza from the space contributed to the shop’s closing.
“Once the primary tenant (our sublandlord) left the space, we were able to continue to operate our small portion of the space under a direct agreement with the landlord for a period of time, but ultimately it is our understanding that the landlord found a new tenant to take over the full space,” the statement reads.
Milk Bar’s Cambridge location is the second in the chain to close in the last few months, with the Toronto location ceasing operations last December.
Some Harvard students say they will fondly remember the dessert destination.
Reza M. Shamji ’25 said he first heard of the chain when he was nine years old and was able to visit it for the first time in New York at age 11.
“I always wanted to try Milk Bar because I saw pictures of the cereal milk ice cream and birthday cake bowls from my friends in LA when they went to New York,” he said.
“I made my dad, brother, and I trek. It was far from us,” Shamji added.
Katharine A. Forst ’25, a Crimson Sports editor, said she will miss the Milk Bar Pie, which is described on Milk Bar’s website as a “sticky, buttery, salty-sweet filling in a hearty oat cookie crust.”
“It’s just out of this world,” Shamji said when describing the pie.
Meanwhile, Shamji said that his go-to at Milk Bar is the “cereal-milk ice cream with cereal topping” but orders the cereal milkshake when he prefers to sip on something.
With Milk Bar set to close, Forst said Tatte would be a “good alternative.”
In the past few months, multiple new establishments have opened in Harvard Square, including WakuWaku Ramen, Taiyaki NYC, and Faro Café.
—Staff writer Caroline K. Hsu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineHsu_.
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