As reported by Eater, the Harvard Square Tatte Bakery & Café is projected to open on October 4th, 2016. While opening much later than originally anticipated, the store will be the largest of the Tatte Bakery & Café chain that is present throughout Boston. With the wood paneling finally dismantled, we are given a glimpse of the storefront as it is being painted. It is beginning to resemble the other branches of Tatte with clean, white paneling and a modern, industrial café vibe. Armed with a new Bongard oven and two floors of space, Tatte looks to fill the void of Panera Bread and then some.
The first floor will house the kitchen and have numerous seating areas from a communal dining space to a banquette and lounges. This may appeal to students seeking a place to relax or have casual conversations while they enjoy coffee and pastries. Otherwise, this may be a new destination for business coffee chats in a well-lit, comfortable environment. On the second floor, there will be a coffee bar and an open kitchen space. The owner and founder of Tatte, Tzurit Or, mentioned that cooking and baking classes will be offered a few times a month. Therefore, the opportunity to learn how to make their excellent pear tarts or savory moussaka may be coming in the future.
While I may be patiently waiting for Tatte to open, the large delay in projected opening date has been unfortunate and has deprived Harvard students from dining outside of the D-Hall.
Oh, Panera, you never really meant that much to me… While for some students Panera is a staple, I’ve never been the biggest fan of ‘commercialized’ foods. My friends can attest to the fact that I frequently voice my distaste for chains like Chipotle, Panera, and Au Bon Pain. Ok, you might think this is all a bunch of food snobbery, but for me, the problem is not the flavor of the food, but the principle of it.
While these businesses advertise non-GMO, pesticide and antibiotic free food, what does that really mean? Are we not falling for the same trap of the previous generation that was promised fast, convenient, and cheap food? We are becoming numb to what is out there in the world of food, and falling into the trap of buzzwords and catchphrases. I’ll be honest: when Panera closed, I smiled. When I found out what replaced it, my smile only widened.
Tatte Bakery and Café is a homegrown Boston bakery and café with numerous branches throughout the city from Kendall Square to Brookline. They serve a wide range of Middle Eastern dishes and pastries as well as the more traditional café fare. From a small stand at Boston farmer’s markets to five established and beloved bakeries, Tatte has proven to be a Boston success story. And it all started with one person, owner Tzurit Or.
Tzurit grew up in Israel and learned traditional baking techniques from her mother. After years of working as a film producer, she realized her true calling in life was baking. She picked up her belongings and moved to Boston, where she started baking from her kitchen. Starting at local farmer’s markets, her carefully crafted pastries received rave reviews. The rest is history.
As you probably guessed, a new Tatte Bakery and Café location will be opening in the space previously occupied by Panera Bread. I could barely contain my excitement when I heard this news. A locally-operated business replacing a national chain? It was music to my ears. However, I do humbly applaud Panera for their business model and their care for the customer.
In early February, Panera Bread purchased a majority stake in Tatte Bakery and Café, but will allow them to run independently. This funding allowed Tatte Bakery to fill the Panera space and reach a new audience of (I hope at least) excited and hungry Harvard students. While construction may take some time (it opens in summer according to a manager at the Main Street Tatte Bakery and Café), it is an addition that is sorely needed. As I sip my café au lait and enjoy my pistachio-filled, baklava-esque croissant, I cannot help but think:
Goodbye Panera; Welcome home Tatte.
A selection of tasteful shots from Tatte Bakery and Café on Main Street and all the ‘yum’ that is to come: