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After 32 years, a Harvard Square mainstay is closing

The sign on the door to Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square.

For 32 years, the Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square has been an anchor for Cambridge public life, with a big patio that attracts locals, tourists, and students and staff of the university.

Now, the restaurant is scheduled to close, according to a sign placed on the door to the store. It is expected to stop serving for good at 2 p.m. Thursday, said Wael Salloum, a store supervisor.

Harvard University said last summer that it would be making major changes to the Smith Campus Center and the outdoor area known as Forbes Plaza, and initial plans called for a glass structure that would reduce the outdoor portion of the plaza by 1,650 square feet.


That proposal was met with strong resistance from the community, and the university modified the plans. Now a glass structure will extend 4 feet from the existing Au Bon Pain glass wall, instead of 11.

But the first floor of the campus center is being significantly revamped, and that means Au Bon Pain has to go.

The good news? No lost jobs. “All of the employees are moving to different locations,” Salloum said.

The revised rendering of plans for Forbes Plaza.HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Heather Ciras can be reached at