With the tragic closure of Greenhouse Cafe last spring, Harvard students are on the hunt for another venue where they can satiate their appetites in between classes. Because we’re just as desperate for a new place to waste our board plus, Flyby sampled the fare at the Barker Center cafe.
In terms of presentation, Barker gets an A+; it’s an idyllic cafe, and all of the sandwiches are neatly wrapped on a display under the counter. The price is not particularly damaging to your wallet, as you can get a half sandwich for four dollars and some change, and full sandwich for just a little under $10.
We sampled two of the most recognizable Barker sandwiches to see if they new Barker Center fare can live up to the sterling reputation of the Greenhouse Cafe
Classic Grilled Cheese
With the classic grilled cheese, you get almost exactly what you expect—but with somewhat of a twist. With cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, sliced tomato, and spicy mustard on thick sourdough bread, it’s a solid sandwich, albeit difficult to stomach when it’s not heated up. Not to mention the tomato is a bit soggy. Still, overall, it’s a solid rendition of a classic favorite, although it may be a little underwhelming and simplistic given its high price tag.
Allan Likes it Grilled
Bizarrely named “Allen Likes it Grilled,” this sandwich is made with grilled chicken breast, Monterey Jack cheese, roasted tomato, arugula, sweet pickles, and serrano mayo dressing on sourdough bread. Aside from the tiny fact that the flavor of the sandwich can be drowned out by the overly rich mayo dressing, the sandwich is a solid pick for an afternoon snack. Still, when this bad boy is heated up, it’s like eating something from a professional deli (are you sensing a trend here?)
Overall, the fare at the Barker Center cafe seems much haughtier than the food offered by the Greenhouse cafe. Those students looking for a quick slice of pizza will likely leave disappointed. But for those who are willing to take the 5 minute walk and spend nearly 5 dollars on half a sandwich, the “Allen Likes it Grilled” is definitely the best bang for your board plus; it’s richer and definitely more fulfilling than its smaller, yet equally priced cousin, the simple grilled cheese.
While those who consider (probably falsely) their palates to be more refined than that of the average Harvard undergraduate, the Barker Center cafe is a good bet. However, those who desire a similar gastronomic experience to Greenhouse should search elsewhere. If only there were still places to search for…