One of our favorite local Italian eateries, Il Panino Express in Harvard Square, is closing this Saturday. The landlord has raised the rent significantly, and he refuses to lease to Il Panino without a 5-year lease at this higher rate. Negotiations broke down, and now Il Panino must leave by Saturday. As far as I know, they do not plan on moving the restaurant elsewhere.
When asked where the workers were going next, the cashier replied, "unemployment."
It's so sad. This establishment has been here for almost 20 years, and most of the workers have been here since the beginning. I'll miss the ability to walk across the street, see familiar faces, and enjoy good, solid Italian food. We'll really miss you, Il Panino.
Even the City of Cambridge is miffed about this situation. Apparently, the City of Cambridge (I'm guessing either City Council or City Hall folks) often uses Il Panino to cater events. They have a very close business relationship. Right now, City Councilor Tim Toomey has submitted a policy order resolution imploring City Council to do something to keep this valuable establishment in Cambridge. We'll see what happens.
We went there tonight to say our last good-by, both to the food and also to the people. We ordered our favorite dishes.
Tomato Basil Mozarella Salad with Proscuitto, Gnocchi Pesto (not pictured),
Frutti Di Mare (Clams, Mussels,calamari) with Spicy Red Sauce
I guess I shouldn't be so sad since the North End still houses an Il Panino Express and an Il Panino Trattoria. Still, I truly think this neighborhood has lost a great gem. Sadly, that building now has three empty spots (previously occupied by Loony Records, Roka, and Friendly Eating Place), now soon to be four. I just don't understand what the landlord is thinking. Some of these spaces have been empty since 2001. Clearly, he's not having much luck renting them out at such high rates.
Oh dear, Garden At the Cellar is in the same building!!! Please, I can't bear to lose another good restaurant near me! 🙁
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