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Café Pamplona, a Harvard Square landmark, closes its doors

Without the influx of nearby students, it couldn't survive. Plus: Many more restaurants open their patios.

A patron reads his book at Cafe Pamplona in 2016.
A patron reads his book at Cafe Pamplona in 2016.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/file

Closings: Harvard Square’s beloved Café Pamplona — one of the neighborhood’s last bastions of bohemian charm — has closed after 62 years in business, because of COVID-19.

Owner Nina Hovagimian took over the Bow Street café in 2006 from original owner Josefina Yuangas Perez, who fled Pamplona, Spain, in the 1950s.

The European-style café can’t survive without the students who make up the majority of her business, Hovagimian said.

“From March until the first week of May, I was still going in every day. But I had one or two customers each day, at the most. Reopening didn’t make sense. I wasn’t making enough to buy the food. My clientele was 85 to 90 percent students,” she said.

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After 14 years in the neighborhood, the closing comes as a shock to longtime neighbors — and to her.

“It’s been very emotional,” she said.

David Williams waited on customers Louis Arnias (left) and Robb Moss at Cafe Pamplona in 2016.
David Williams waited on customers Louis Arnias (left) and Robb Moss at Cafe Pamplona in 2016.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/file

Closings: in Waltham, Italian restaurant Il Capriccio (888 Main St. at Prospect Street) signs off after 39 years. Owner Richie Barron posted a farewell message on social media, saying that the emergence of COVID-19 “essentially ended our lease,” noting that he’s spent 46 years in a kitchen. “This is a good time for me to personally step away from the restaurant business,” he wrote.

Reopenings: In the Seaport, Woods Hill Pier 4 (300 Pier 4 Blvd.) reopens on Friday, June 19, debuting an all-day menu on its harborside patio. Enjoy oysters, lobster popovers, salads, and summer cocktails Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Nearby, Legal Harborside (270 Northern Ave. at Harborview Lane) has reopened for takeout, with its first-floor patio reopening on Saturday, June 20, with a new sushi menu. Visit Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. and on weekends from noon.

The Fenway’s Orfano (1391 Boylston St. at Brookline Avenue) and Tiger Mama (1363 Boylston St. at Brookline Avenue) debut patios on Friday, June 19, as well. Visit Orfano for dinner Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 4 p.m.; Tiger Mama is open on Friday from 5 p.m., Saturday from 4 p.m., and for brunch beginning at 11 a.m. Both spots also offer takeout and curbside pickup.

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In Somerville’s Inman Square, Trina’s Starlite Lounge debuts the Starlite Snack Shack, a takeout window next door to the restaurant (3 Beacon St. at Dickinson Street). Get burgers, hot dogs, onion strings, and cans of Miller High Life, plus soft-serve and sundaes. It’s open daily from 2 p.m. The Lounge will also debut patio dining on Friday, June 19, Thursday through Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 4 p.m.

In Framingham, Jack’s Abby (100 Clinton St. at Grant Street) has opened an outdoor beer garden, serving Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 9 p.m. Reservations are required at www.jacksabby.com/visit. Pair your beer with wings, German potato salad, spaetzle, poutine, and a few salads, too.

And in Sherborn, Heritage of Sherborn (33 N. Main St. at Eliot Street) has reopened for outdoor dining. Helmed by Josh and Jen Ziskin (Brookline’s La Morra), Heritage offers tented dining, fire pits, picnic tables, and an expanded patio. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.


Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.