As recently as a few years ago, nightlife in Kendall Square was a punchline. The streets went dark early, and were largely empty even in daytime. Employers came to Cambridge because they wanted to be close to other cutting-edge companies, and to MIT. They came in spite of the moribund neighborhood around them.
The old, boring, dark Kendall Square is gone. The square today is teeming with interesting, eclectic restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops. As absurd as it might have sounded a few years ago, Kendall is now a hot food destination. It’s buzzing with Cambridge’s residents, students, and tech workers. It’s drawing in diners from the suburbs. A place that lay fallow for so long has been transformed almost overnight. Small, local, independent businesses have been driving Kendall Square’s dramatic turnaround. That’s by design.